Your heart will soar high above the clouds at these travel destinations in Japan.

Castle in the Sky was released in 1986 and even today, Japanese anime fans often pick this Studio Ghibli classic as their favorite movie. The film epitomizes all the elements of a classic Ghibli production: beautiful landscapes, adorable characters and magical mysticism.

Just as people love to visit Yakushima to immerse themselves in the scenery of Princess Mononoke, fans would love to actually visit Laputa as well, and it turns out there are a few places in Japan that can make you think you are actually visiting a castle in the sky. You can leave your earthly selves if you make your way out to one of these eight magical places.

Tomogashima (Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture)

In the late Meiji Period, a brick fort and lighthouse were built on the island, which have since been abandoned. The unchecked overgrown moss really gives off the feeling of the abandoned city of Laputa.

Sarushima (Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture)

Sarushima is the only natural island in Tokyo Bay. It was used as an artillery battery by the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo period and later functioned as a naval yard. As with Tomogashima, red brick decorates the island. 

Kitazawa Fuyuu Senkoujyou (Sado, Niigata Prefecture)

You may be familiar with these very famous abandoned buildings. In the past it was a place that manufactured copper, but nowadays the buildings have been deserted. However, they still play host to a popular “light-up event”.

Shikoku Karst –  (Aichi Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture)

One of the big three irregular limestone deposits in Japan is the Shikoku Karst. At a 1,400-meter (4,593-foot) elevation, it really looks like the rolling fields in the movie.

“Road of Laputa” – (Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture)

Dubbed the “Road of Laputa”, this road has become a very popular tourist attraction. The area is known for its inversions and breathtaking scenery. Unfortunately, due to the Kumamoto Earthquake, the roads here are currently being repaired and are temporarily closed.

Takeda Castle (Asago, Hyogo Prefecture)

Known locally as the “Machu Picchu of Japan”, this ruined castle sits 353 meters above sea level and is sometimes surrounded by clouds/fog. When it is, it becomes the perfect “castle in the sky”. Until 10 years ago it was an unnamed castle, but due to media coverage, it’s now become a popular tourist attraction.

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle a.k.a. Takahashi Castle (Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture)

One of the top 100 castles in Japan. The castle is often surrounded by a bed of clouds, making the area a popular spot for seeing inversions.

Besshi Copper Mine (Niihama, Ehime Prefecture)

A copper mine until 1973, it’s now merely the site for a number of ruins. Part of the copper mine is currently being used in a nearby theme park, which doesn’t take away from its fantasy-like looks.


Each of these locations would look stunning no matter which season you visit, so be sure to add them to your travel plans the next time you are in Japan. If you’ve been to one or more of these locations, let us know which one gets your Rocketeer stamp of approval in the comments below!

Source: Japaaan
Featured image: Instagram/takeda_castle