“Samurai Castles?” I hear you ask.
That’s right, with the prestige and history of the samurai and the warring periods of Japan, there are some iconic structures still standing to this day that Samurai and Martial Arts enthusiasts can go visit to gain a better appreciation of the world the Samurai lived and fought in.
For the rest of us, there’s this cool book called “Samurai Castles”.
I got my hands on a copy, read it, and now I have some information about it for you, in my ever-growing line up of martial arts themed book reviews.
What’s “Samurai Castles” all about?
This book touches on a theme slightly outlying the martial arts of the Samurai but explores iconic buildings in Japan that belonged to their lords, and they were often a great source of showcasing their status whilst serving as guarded fortresses that protected them from their enemies.
Samurai Castles gives us a better understanding of that time through historic architecture, a remaining remnant of the warring periods of Japan.
You may not realize but there’s a lot of battle readiness in a good Japanese castle due to the nature of these wars, the samurai and attacking armies. With great beauty, this book uncovers the great function of these epic buildings and how they worked.
What’s in the book?
It’s pretty simple, the book starts by covering the history of Japan’s warring times and of course, the Samurai. We learn of the most powerful lords of these times and get a little immersed in Japanese history, setting the scenes and educating the reader about the main guts of the book – the castles themselves.
The book acts as a catalog of over 20 castles and explores them all in detail, covering the architecture, design, historical facts, dates and even the strategic value and layout of the castle. They cover the various areas of each castle and how it prevented attackers from invading, which was what I found most interesting.
With the grand scale of these castles, each one has the land size and is peppered with beautiful photos of the many areas, exploring the main structures and gates so you get a true feel for just how impressive they are. For the traveler, there is a map of the castle, a location and even directions on how to get there.
With these listings and photos, you also gain an appreciation for how well maintained they are and how they contrast to the surrounding modern cities in some cases.
It’s really an easy, fun book.
Well, it’s about castles. It’s fascinating to skim through and read as an adult and can even be interesting to show some kids.
The book is highly visual, packed with maps and photos (as mentioned) which are a testament to Japanese design and building. It’s pretty stimulating book and each castle is explored quite well. But after a few reads I did find it easy to put away.
While I do get this book out every so often, as someone who is interested primarily in martial arts this book has its fleeting moments. It seems to be more for lovers of architechure and Japanese culture. As a martial artist I loved reading about the strategic value of these castles and they were built to withstand attack and in many cases, easily kill attackers.
Would I recommend it?
Honestly, it’s a cool book. If this kind of thing interests you, I’d grab a copy for a bit of fun. You can find it on Amazon.
Thanks for reading this review!