The Castle in the Sky exists! I am of course referring to the famous Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki produced and released by Studio Ghibli in 1986.
Takeda Castle was built in 1441. It was conquered in 1577 by Hideyoshi Toyotomi during the Tajima Province campaign. It was then placed under the control of his younger brother, Hidenaga. Akamatsu Hirohide, the last lord of the castle, fought on the side of Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Even though served valiantly in the battle, he was accused of arson. He then committed seppuku and the castle was abandoned.
That day, I arrived at Takeda Station at 9:00 am. I had spent the night in a nearby town because I could not find a room at Takeda. The snowstorm that had raged during the night delayed my journey and I arrived much later than expected. The objective was to arrive before sunrise and climb the mountain that faces Takeda castle, to see the castle floating in the morning clouds. The clouds dissipate very quickly and by the time I reach the 2nd level, the day had been up for several hours and the majority of the clouds had disappeared. Because of the snow that fell in abundance, visibility was very bad: it’s only on my way down that there was a lull and the sky cleared. Arrived at the foot of the mountain, I returned to the center of the small town. I was shivering with cold; my feet were wet with snow despite my hiking boots and my mountain equipment. I entered a small local restaurant. After I warmed up and dried my feet, I returned to the train station information counter to learn about the best way to access the castle ruins. The climb is very easy using a mountainside staircase and takes about 40 minutes. However do not forget your hiking boots and do not be like those Japanese ladies who make the ascent in stiletto heel. Once at the top, the 360 ° view of the valley is very clear. The tour of the ruins is relatively quick and it will take you about 30 minutes if you take your time. At the top, the snow had completely stopped falling, the sun was very powerful and snow reflection was intense.
Back at the station, I took the train to Kyoto to continue my journey.
A piece of advice:
If you have the chance to see a large cloud passing in front of the castle, immediately take your picture. Contrary to what is written everywhere, even in October or November, this phenomenon is quite rare and locals say the cloud is just passing in front of the castle and remains in place for only a few minutes. So be on the watch and good photo hunting!!!