NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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久保田城 Kubota-jyou Kubota Castle

Jp En

The ruins of Kubota Castle are in Akita, Akita Prefecture. The castle was built in 1602 in Akita by the first Akita Han leader, Satake Yoshinobu, on Mt Shinmei. The site met all Satake's requirements: it was in the center of their feudal estate with access to the Omono River and near the river harbor. Kubota Castle is sometimes referred to as Yatome Castle or Kakon Castle, and is famous for not having a castle keep or stone walls.

A fire burned down the main enclosure in 1880, and by 1890 the area had become a park. The site of Kubota Castle has become Chiaki Park, known for its many trees. Today the park includes a prefectual meeting hall, a city library, the Masakichi Hirano Museum of Fine Arts, and other buildings.

One of the castle towers located in the corner of the main enclosure and the castle front gate have been restored in recent years. The Kubota Castle is an historic castle, which has watched over the development of the town, and has been a local symbol for a long time.
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棚倉城 Tanakura-jyo Tanakura Castle

Jp En

The remains of Tanakura Castle are located in Tanagura, Higashi-shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture.

Nagashige Niwa, who was moved to Tanagura, was given an order, by the Second Shogun Hidetada Tokugawa in the first year of the Genwa era (1622), to build a castle. Shigetada then moved Chikatsu Shrine to Baba in the first year of the Kanei era (1624), and in the next year, started construction of the castle on the former site of the shrine.

Tanakura Castle was completed in the 4th year of the Kanei era (1627), but unfortunately, Nagashige was sent to a different land. The castle lord has since changed repeatedly, and, by the Meiji period, 8 families had ruled for 16 generations.

After enduring attacks from the Imperial Army during the Boshin Wars in the 4th year of the Keiou era (1868), the castle was burned down and surrendered to the enemy by the castle lord himself.

The former castle keep was turned into Kamegashiro Park in 1948. In the Edo period, Tanakura Castle was used as land for transferring lords who had been demoted, but even that has become part of history.
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仙台城 Sendai-jyou Sendai Castle

Jp En

Sendai Castle is located on Mt Aoba in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. Constructed in 1601, the castle is also known as Aoba Castle. Date Masamune established the castle during the Keicho years. For 270 years it was the home of the Date family and the Sendai clan's seat of government. Due to its inconvenient setting on a mountain, the Date family moved from Sendai Castle to Wakabayashi-yakata.

Sendai Castle is constructed in a circular enclosure system with Hon-no-maru in the center and Ni-no-maru, Higashi-no-maru and San-no-maru on the outer sides. The buildings are protected by Hirose River, and to the south by Ryu-no-guchi Valley.

After crossing Hirose bridge and climbing the gentle hill, one sees the ruins of the Ote Gate, which was said to resemble a reconstruction of Hizen Nagoya Castle. Ote Gate was destroyed by war, but today the restored gate and fortress give a a feel of the old atmosphere of the castle in former times.
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彦根城 Hikone-jyo Hikone Castle

Jp En

Hikone Castle was once the seat of the Ii family in Konki, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture. Another name for the castle is Konki Castle. It has been designated as a National Treasure and Special National Historical Place.

After the battle of Sekigahara, Ii Naotsugu, the son of Naomasa, the first Hikone domain head, along with Naotaka, the second domain head, built the castle, which was finally completed in the 8th year of the Genna period (1622).

Even today, the white three-storeyed castle tower still retains its power and majesty. The castle is one of Japan's four major National Treasure castles, the others being Himeji, Matsumoto and Inuyama.

The castle features many Important Cultural Assets such as the Balance Watchtower and the Taiko Gate Watchtower. The mood of each season is enhanced by cherry blossoms, fresh green, red leaves and snow. Moreover, Hikone Castle in moonlight is very beautiful, and comprises one of the 8 great views of Lake Biwa.

Hikone Castle is one of the best castles in the world.
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松前城 Matsumae-jo Matsumae Castle

Jp En

Matsumae Castle is the most recently established castle in Japan. It is also called Fukuyama Castle and was completed in 1854.

Designed by Ichikawa Ichigaku, a resourceful military man, the architecture has three parts: main, secondary and third buildings. On the southeast side of the main building, there is a three-storied keep tower. In the third building, 7 cannons are set facing the sea. Also, there were 9 other cannons outside the castle facing the ocean. From these facts, we can see that the castle was secure from attack from the ocean side.

After only 13 years, it was destroyed following the collapse of the Matsumae clan. In 1960, the remaining sections of the castle were restored. Now, the keep tower is used as a museum, where weapons and objects from the castle, as well as pictures such as 'Sakura-sita Bijin-zu', are exhibited.
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備中松山城 Bicchu-matsuyama-jo Bicchu-matsuyama Castle

Jp En

Bicchu-matsuyama Castle is situated on Mt Kagyu, which is the town's northern peak. The castle is the highest (430m) in Japan. It was established in the Kamakura period. The castle's origins are associated with the story that Akibashi Shigenobu, the landlord of Ukango (present-day Ukan town, Takahashi district) founded a castle on Mt Omatsu. Later, Mizutani Katsumune constructed Bicchu-matsuyama Castle in 1683. Back then, Mt Kigyu was located near the San-yo and San-in roads. Landlords on either side were fighting for the land and castle and war broke out frequently.

Bicchu-matsuyama Castle is counted as one of the major mountain castles of Japan and, of the three, it is the only one with structures still standing. Also, there is a keep tower. The contrast of white walls and black supporting walls is beautiful, and matches the blue sky.
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上野城 Ueno-jo Ueno Castle

Jp En

Ueno Castle (Hakuho Castle) is located in Ueno, Iga City, Mie prefecture. A castle was first built at this site in the 13th year of the Tensho period (1585), by Tsutsui Sadatsugu, who had been given Iga. Heirakuji Temple, which had been razed during the Tensho-Iga war, had previously stood at this site.

In the 13th year of the Keicho period (1608), Tsutsuji Sadatsugu was recalled and Todo Takatora received the castle and renovated much of it. He made the moats deeper and the stone ramparts higher as defence against Toyotomi. For many years, these 30m-high stone walls were the highest in Japan. (Today, the walls of Osaka castle are the highest.)

After the Meiji Restoration, most of the stone walls were pulled down and the castle remained deserted. In the 13th year of the Meiji period (1935), Katsu Kawasaki rebuilt the castle. The three-tiered and three-storied castle tower was built at that time. Today, the castle is officially called Iga Cultural Industry Castle.

In Showa 42 (1967), the castle and its district were designated as a National Historical Site.
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