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Takashima Castle's Guardian


I'm glad this didn't just happen to me by myself but was also experienced by my Japanese friend at the time. It was amazing and quite a shock to our systems.

I had wanted to visit Takashima Castle on the shores of Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture and finally drove there in late Autumn 2006. After getting lost on the way my friend and I arrived at the small park with dungeon building and moat at around 6:30pm. It was dark and the main building (now a museum reconstructed in 1960s) was closed and locked up. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't enter and check out the museum but still happy to be there.

I began fooling around. First climbing up the castle wall a little bit (ninja style) then proceeded up the stone flight of stairs to the locked doors of the main keep. I jokingly knocked on the door and gave the handle a tug. Yeah it was locked. I went to get my keys out of my pocket once again jokingly and as I did so my friend took her high heel boots off and ran off back down the stairs. "Did you hear that?", she yelled.

I remember hearing some kind of sound from behind the door but nothing that registered. I gingerly went to the bottom of the stairs and asked what was wrong. Then, from the top of the stairs coming from inside the keep a mans laughter rang out. "Ah ha ha ha haaaa! ". We froze and looked at each other not speaking then back up at the door. It sounded like the voice of a 40ish year old Japanese man. "uh oh" I thought as I waited for a security guy or ground keeper to come out and tell me off. But just laughter I thought was a bit odd.

30 seconds seemed to pass and as we gazed up to the door suddenly from very close (no more than 3 metres in front of me) and from thin air on the stairs again loudly, "Aaaaha ha ha haaaaa". Adrenaline kicked in and I grabbed my friend and said "run run run". We ran on jelly legs in the opposite direction, my friend almost in tears from fright. "Gomenasai!" (I'm sorry!) I said aloud in a shakey voice as we passed through a gate out over the moat bridge.

Then as we stopped for a breath once more seemingly from a top window the keep. Another burst of laughter. I was glad he or it hadn't followed us but my friend was pretty damn scared and so was I. We got back to the car and drive off with one memory we'd never forget. As for me, more respect for old sites full of bloody and violent history.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, GTRyan32, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

GTRyan32 (1 stories) (3 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-08)
[at] cecil04 Cheers for your comments. The best website for Japanese castles is the Jcastle site linked in DeviousAngel's post. On that site you can get a google map of the place showing all the roads and parking lots. I parked just across the road in the lot nearest the keep. Was a bit scary going back to the car because it was right next to the keep. We first went to the Circle K nearby to make sure we were around other people and calm our nerves a bit.

I drove there from Gunma over a road called the "Venus line". An awesome place anyway.

As for Japanese yeah actually gomennasai probably is the best way to write it. But going by the same conventions Tokyo would actually be spelt Toukyou and Osaka as Oosaka. Point is, it doesn't really matter.

One more recommendation though. A Japanese DVD series called Honto ni atta noroi video is really good. Its "apparently" real footage of ghosts that people have sent in. I'd say 80% are obviously fake but there are a few really interesting ones and some bloody scary. They're up to dvd# 45 now so not much real stuff. Check out some earlier ones.
GTRyan32 (1 stories) (3 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-08)
[ [at] zzsgranny] thanks for reading I'm glad you enjoyed it. My feelings at the time were kind of like that. First shock and disbelief. I thought I must have triggered some kind of alarm. I wasn't really scared once we left because the voice went back up inside the keep. Then after calling the castle the next day, checking for all explanations I was convinced myself that there is no logical scientific explanation for what happened. Despite the fact that the voice clearly came from inside then outside then again inside the castle without the door opening. Also the voice came quite loudly from thin air on the stone steps directly in front of me. Obviously there is no way for me to prove this. I can prove that I was there at the time I said and all that but you'll just have to take my word.
DeviousAngel (11 stories) (1910 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-07)
cecil04 - thank you for clearing that up. As far as I have ever seen it written, it appears as "gomennasai", especially in Hiragana with the 'N' and 'Na' symbols. I cannot read Kanji yet so I am not sure how it appears in that form. I agree that translations between Japanese-English can sometimes get sketchy especially for non-native speakers. If it is an honest mistake, I will let it go...

The detail of the date did not add up, which the author said was a speed-mistake, though personally I am a bit of a perfectionist so I struggle when people tell me they 'accidentally' gave someone the wrong information when telling a story where detail and accuracy are generally needed for research purposes. Also not sure how the driving there part happened. I hope you can clear that up too.

If the events surrounding this story really happened, then okay, fair play. I still do not think it was paranormal. Thank you for sharing regardless and good luck.
GTRyan32 (1 stories) (3 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-07)
Thanks for your comments and opinions.

Yes DeviousAngel you are right about my date mistake. I wrote the story on my iPhone and wanted to check the date but was afraid of losing all I'd written. It is evidence of my bad memory. As for all the other misinformation, it's all correct. Anyway it's easy to google and check out as you have proved.

I'm not an anime nerd. I'm a car nut and a history buff. Japanese can't be written correctly in English. There are various spelling systems.

But please hit me with your questions and scrutinies.

Btw, I did go to Takashima Castle again during the day and checked out the inside. 400 yen I think. Not spectacular. There was a cool old suit of Armour and some old weapons.
cecil04 (6 stories) (62 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-04)
[at] DeviousAngel: well that is only partially correct; it's true that "sorry" is written like gomennasai in japanese.
But it's also common to say "gomen" only (nasai is just a suffix if I'm not wrong) and if spoken quickly the double-n indeed comes like a single one.
Nevermind, let's just leave it as a ninja-style typo... 😉

The stated date of reconstruction reveals sloppy research before posting the story.

The account itself doesn't sound that paranormal to me, I also go with the opinion of a prankster security guard or something...

Anyways, I also googled about it and takashima castle is a really beautiful building! 😊
DeviousAngel (11 stories) (1910 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-04)
There are a few things about your story that bother me. Your information is inaccurate and the details do not add up. You said the castle was restructured in 1960--that is not true. It was restructured in 1970 according to every website I have found. I thought it was interesting that you would provide the date without knowing that information was correct. Also you said you drove there, but the only access to the castle is a 10 minute walk from JR Kamisuwa Station. Anyone who is interested on where I am getting this, please see below (this is a Japanese tourism website, and if you like you can look up any other sites with information on this castle that will tell you the same thing).


A few things you said--climbing the wall "like a ninja" and "gomenasai!" seem like things a kid that watches anime would say rather than someone who lives in Japan and respects the culture. "Gomen nasai" is the proper way to say it. For someone who lives in Japan and claims to love the country so much, I would think that you would know that.

I am assuming that this is also your post on one of the informational sites:

"Ryan December 16, 2008 at 09:32 PM

I went to Takashima Castle after closing hours in late autumn 2006 with a friend. It was about 6:30pm. We had a very unsettling experience after I knocked on the door to the main keep. We both ended up running out of the castle grounds in a state of shock. A very interesting castle, especially at night. Anyone else has any stories from Takashima I'd love to hear."


Since all of the information I just found was also on that website, I am surprised that you posted this here with so much misinformation. Please explain?
reptilian (45 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-04)
Hate to say it but a middle aged Japanese cleaner probably had a good laugh at your expense. He went home and said to his wife "got two today!"
Feiaby (4 stories) (31 posts)
13 years ago (2011-11-04)
I love castles and want to visit one someday but I would never dare visit it at night. That's pretty scary! You're lucky nothing serious had happened to you, guys.

Thanks for sharing...
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3329 posts) mod
13 years ago (2011-11-03)
GTRyan: Holy crap! 😆...That must have been pretty cool...Well, after your nerves calmed a bit 😆...It's too bad you couldn't have gotten there sooner... I think you're right, it probably was the guardian, wanting to scare the crap out of late comers...

I really enjoyed this story... Thank you for posting! 😊

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