Kyoto’s Abandoned Castle
Fushimi-Momoyama-jo (aka Fushimi-Momoyama Castle, Fushimi Castle, Momoyama Castle) is one former famous sight in Kyoto that has disappeared off the tourist radar for a good few years now. Although the interior of the castle has been closed to the public since 2003, the building still remains, but it has been pretty much left to the elements. It is still possible to wander around the castle grounds surrounding the central building, the public toilets are still in operation and the vending machines in the grounds are stocked with drinks.
This castle was originally built in 1592, but the original was destroyed by an earthquake only 4 years later. A second version was built in 1604 but it was demolished in 1623. The current version was built in 1964. (see the Wikipedia article on "Fushimi Castle" for more information)
I first noticed this castle when I visited Kyoto as a tourist in 2007, I saw it from the Kyoto tower and said to my wife "that looks like a cool castle why don't we go there?" However when we looked at our travel guide book (either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide), it said it was not worth seeing, it's better to catch the Shinkansen to see either Himeji Castle or Hikone Castle which are both originals. So I didn't visit it until after I moved to Kyoto. Actually I began to get interested again in visiting it when we could see it in the distance from a room we hired to hold English classes in, but it was not until the Summer Holidays of 2011 that I finally got the opportunity to go and look at it.
The nearest train stations to the castle are the Keihan Railway's Tanbabashi Station and the Kintetsu Railway's Kintensutanbabashi Station. These stations are right next to each other, the castle is about 500m due east of these stations. If you're heading there from downtown Kyoto use the Keihan Railway. If you're heading there from the Kyoto Station area or Fushimi Inari Shrine use the Kintensu Railway. Both of these railways are private railways, so you can't use a Japan Rail Pass on them, but the fare from Kyoto is only about a couple of hundred yen.
Although you can see the castle from a distance, it's not so easy to see it up close, because the area near it is either built up or forested. There are also no signs to mark the way. If you have a smart phone, use your favourite mapping app! The best way if you arrive at the Keihan station is to head to the Kintensu station and then take the east exit. At the road just outside the Kintensu station head south until you come to a junction then turn left, follow the road crossing over a pedestrian overpass and keep going. You'll pass a high school on your right, keep going and follow the left course of the road when it forks. When the road turns back 90 degrees to the right you're almost at the castle. The castle is at the end of the road.
This this photo was captured in with a Nikon D700 and an AF 35f/2 lens. Compared to the original image from the camera, in iPhoto I've increased the contrast and definition, toned down the highlights, and warmed the image sightly.