Guide to Japanese Castles



walls divided up the castle and were important defensive structures

Walls are the low walls with a small roof that you see everywhere in castles. They surround the different baileys and sections of the castle and were placed atop the stone walls of nearly every moat. These walls often had various holes called sama in them that served as a safe "window" to watch the outside. More importantly they were a safe place from which to shoot arrows, rifles or to lance enemies trying to breach the castle.

Sama designed for arrows were generally rectangles and those for firearms were circles or triangles. The picture above shows all three types of sama in a wall at Himeji-jo. The picture below shows earthen walls around the ninomaru and the honmaru of Himeji-jo. The image at the lower right is from an exhibit at Odawara-jo that shows the internal construction of such a wall.