A flatland castle built in a mere four months, Takada-jō was first established in 1614 by Matsudaira Tadateru. Curiously for a feudal-era Japanese fortification, it was constructed without stone walls, instead relying on a series of moats for its defenses (made through the diverting of three rivers). The castle never had a large central keep, but instead was centered on a three-story tower (the Sankai-yagura, pictured). The original tower, built in 1624, succumbed to an earthquake in 1665, then its reconstruction and all buildings of the main enclosure were lost to a fire in 1802. Abandoned from 1871, much of the site was filled in and the moat embankments used as a military base. A reconstruction of the Sankai-yagura was completed in 1993, and the grounds are now a popular spot for cherry blossom-viewing in Jōetsu city and the greater region.