Breaks my heart to see #2 and #1. Shuri Castle (#2) burnt down last year. It was a beautiful reconstruction. I guess they are in the middle of rebuilding it now. It really was a lovely attraction. It didn't strike me as being as artificial as some modern reconstructions, like Nagoya and Osaka. Kumamoto Castle (#1) of course suffered greatly from the earthquake that struck Kyushu a few years ago. Its reconstruction seems to be coming along well, so I am anxious to see what this looks like once finished. I hadn't realized the castle that was nearly destroyed in the earthquake was itself a reconstruction.
There are beautiful reconstructions such as Kakegawa Castle and Okayama Castle, reconstructions with an excellent exterior but less than impressive interiors (Osaka and Nagoya) and unsightly ferroconcrete constructions such as Okazaki Castle, Odawara Castle or - the worst example I can think of - the Disneyland-like contraption of Atami Castle.
To be fair, the donjon of Odawara Castle has been remodelled a few years ago and seems no longer historically inaccurate, and the gates have been beautifully recreated in all their former splendour. In recent reconstruction projects, there is a trend to use original materials and building methods (the Honmaru of Nagoya Castle for example) which is costly and difficult due to the scarcity of experts and craftsmen.
I am also looking forward to seeing Kumamoto Castle!
I don't live in Japan but every year i travel in and out for 1 month or 3 weeks. So i don't have a full understand of the culture, lifestyle and have the knowledge like you guys do but i have the basic down.
During my travel i did question some Castle. I believe you can't even go in some because its just there to viewing only.
I agree with Thomas, they need to try to keep it historically inaccurate but i'm 100% okay with small changes have to be made to allow handicap and disable people. Also having AC unit for the summer.
Japan has so many great castles it's hard to choose. Thus far I've been to almost 150 different Japanese castles and the list is constantly growing.
Personally I prefer the original castle keeps, but there are only 12 left.
I've listed my favorite Japanese castles a few years ago, that hasn't changed much. Unfortunately, some of my favorite castles were partly destroyed now such as Shuri Castle or Kumamoto Castle. Luckily I was able to visit them long before that happened. I also like castle ruins a lot.