Post: Free App Helps Visitors Enjoy Old View of Imabari Castle Town in West Japan

Free App Helps Visitors Enjoy Old View of Imabari Castle Town in West Japan

A free smartphone app that allows users to enjoy a reenacted view of a castle town here back in the Edo period (1603-1868) in comparison with the current townscape using augmented reality is available for visitors.

The “Imabari Castle AR” app was developed by the Imabari Municipal Board of Education for use in Japanese, English, Hangul and simplified and traditional Chinese, allowing visitors to use it during their sightseeing in this western Japan city. Users can take in a 360-degree panoramic view of the castle town 300 years ago as seen from the keep tower of Imabari Castle.

With the help of augmented reality technology, which integrates computerized information into reality, education board officials took about six months to elaborately restore the old scenery of Imabari Castle and its surrounding town in the mid-Edo period by analyzing information on surrounding villages through drawings, old photographs and former names of local places such as those including the Japanese word meaning “moat.” Imabari Castle, built along the coast in around 1608, has vast moats drawing seawater.

By scanning QR codes with smartphone cameras at the castle keep’s observatory and other locations, visitors can experience a “simulated tour” around the Edo-period castle town while comparing it to the present-day scenery. If they tap on buttons displayed on their smartphone screens, they can view photographs and explanations of key locations such as a port and a gate in and outside the castle, respectively.

Most of the castle’s structures were torn down in the wake of the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century, but the castle keep, turrets, gates and other structures have been reconstructed since 1980.