The castle has been largely left untouched since the visit of the Emperor. Here are the main points of interest of the castle:

The Three Tiers

The castle grounds sit upon a tall stone base and spread across approx. 10 arces in total. The stone base originally served to elevate the castle and thus make it more difficult to assault, although it also makes it look more impressive looking. The entire complex is constructed in 3 tiers.

The bottommost and largest tier, known as the sanno-maru, was built directly upon the stone base. The border of this entire first tier (expect for the entrance) is protected by sheer stone walls. It houses most of the servant quarters, workshops, most ronin and out of favour samurai.

The 2nd tier, known as the ninomaru, is built up on top of the first and is surrounded by an inner moat. Most of the samurai are housed in this tier with well regarded ronin.

The 3rd tier, the honmaru, is elevated above the 2nd tier and placed adjacent to the primary walls, and is separated from the other tiers by another gate and inner wall. This houses the court itself and the well regarded samurai.

The Splendid Ramp

Originally constructed of sturdy oak and assembled in less than a month, the Splendid Ramp was later upgraded to a more permanent structure of stone and wood that required 10 years to complete. It is wide enough for 12 men to walk side-by-side. The edges are lined with stone barriers that reach the waist, with continuous wooden handrails constructed over that. The ramp starts from outside the castle proper and over the maze and first tier directly onto the 2nd tier.

The Star Observatory

This tower is located in the north east corner of the castle on the first tier and it over looks the forest and lake. A hatch was built into the ceiling of the top room so that the sky could be exposed to the occupants. Further, the eastern and western walls were left largely as open spaces so the night air could flow freely through the room. The chamber is furnished with large cushions and a coal pit for warmth and to heat up snacks and tea.

The Tea Room Tower

The second tower, which lay in the south west corner, was converted into a tea room. Guests enter the room through a small trap door in the floor, arriving in a room with a single large window facing west, which keeps the chamber cool and dim until just before twilight. the window is a perfect circle. Guests are fond of meeting here to hold private negotiations or poetry contests, and lovers also consider the Tea Room Tower an especially favourable place to meet at late night.


L5R Pmiddleton