Looking at these overlooked castles might have you altering your itinerary.

When traveling in Japan, there are three castles that are particularly likely to have a spot on people’s itineraries. Kyoto’s opulent Nijo Castle often gets folded in with other historical sights on tours of the city. Osaka Castle is likely an easy destination to include while checking out the more modern attractions of Japan’s third-largest metropolis. Finally, Himeji Castle, just a short Shinkansen trip from Osaka or Castle, is widely considered Japan’s best-preserved medieval fortress.

But while those might be the three with the highest profiles, they don’t have a monopoly on beauty or awesomeness, and a recent selection of photos from Japanese photographer and Twitter user @Hisa0808 (who also goes by ag.lr.88 on Instagram) highlights some less famous but still breathtaking Japanese castles.

We start things off with Gifu Castle, an on-brand name for the castle that stands in Gifu Prefecture’s Gifu City. The castle’s main tower is illuminated from sunset until 11 p.m. nightly, but on this particular night @Hisa0808, using a long-distance telephoto lens, shows it under a gloriously glowing full moon.

Next, we head to Ono Castle, in the town of Ono, Fukui Prefecture. Since there are multiple Ono Castles in Japan, this particular one is additionally referred to as Echizen Ono Castle (Echizen being the samurai-era name for the Fukui region), but it’s also called the “castle in the sky,” due to how everything below its mountaintop position can get covered in misty fog, as shown in @Hisa0808’s photo (on a side note, it’s far enough from the Fukui town of Sakai that you probably don’t have to worry about any of its local curses).

We mentioned earlier that Nijo Castle, located in the Kyoto city center, is one of Japan’s most-visited castles. But the city has a second castle, too, over in its Fushimi Ward. Somewhat similar to Nijo, Fushimi Castle was built after the fiercest fighting of the Sengoku Period was over, and was designed with the day-to-day comfort of its owner in mind, as this was to be the retirement home of warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

And last, we come to Matsumoto Castle, in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. With the city being a sort of staging point for hiking trips into the popular Kamikochi mountains, Matsumoto Castle doesn’t quite have the same “hidden gem” status of the other castles featured in this list. It does, however, look especially cool here, and @Hisa0808’s timing is spot-on, capturing a flock of crows flying past the “Crow Castle,” as Matsumoto Castle is also called because of its black exterior accents.

“Posting some castle photos for people who love castles taken by someone who loves castles,” says @Hisa0808, and after looking at them, we love Japan’s castles even more.

Source: Twitter/@@Hisa0808 via IT Media
Images: Twitter/@Hisa0808
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he can’t see a picture of a moon over a castle and not think of the Gran Turismo opening theme.