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秋月城 Akizuki-jou Akizuki Castle

Jp En

Akizuki-jou, or Akizuki Castle, was once located in Akizuki-cho, Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture.
The origin of the castle dates back to 1203 when Harada Tanekatsu built a mountain castle in Mt. Koshouzan (856m above sea level) and his residential castle at the foot of the mountain. He changed his name to Akizuki Tanezane and the residential castle was occupied by generations of the Akizuki family.
In 1587, faced by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s massive army surrounding the mountain castle, Akizuki Tanezane surrendered to Hideyoshi and the mountain castle was abandoned.
In 1924, Kuroda Nagaoki, who was granted the land of Akizuki, transferred the residential castle to the old mountain castle and made extensive renovations. The ruins we see today are from this castle, in which successive lords of Akizuki family of Kuroda Clan resided until Meiji Period.
The castle’s main gate, Kuromon, is still remaining and the area is known for its fall foliage.
The ruins of Akizuki Castle is a historical site dating from Kamakura Period.
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安芸郡山城 Aki-kooriyama-jyou Aki Koriyama Castle Ruins

Jp En

Koriyama Castle located in Yoshida-cho, Aki Takata City, Hiroshima Pref. was a large-scale castle which covered the whole mountain of Koriyama. The original castle was built on a ridge in the southeastern part of the mountain in 1336 by Mori Tokichika, who was appointed as the Jito (an official to manage manors) of Yoshida manor. Since then the successive heads of the clan had resided at this castle until the time of Mori Motonari, who fortified the castle and expanded the castle area in the whole mountain. In the Battle of Yoshida Koriyama in 1541, the castle was attacked by Amako Haruhisa’s forces with 20,000 soldiers, but the Mori clan succeeded in beating them back. In 1589, the Mori clan shifted its bases to Hiroshima Castle. Koriyama Castle was dismantled in the early Edo period. Most of the castle compounds were destroyed at this time. At the present time, there are about 130 remains of kuruwa (castle compounds) spreading all over the mountain, from which we can easily imagine how large the castle was.
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一関城 Ichinoseki-jyou Ichinoseki Castle Ruins

Jp En

After the Kasai clan, the ruler of the southern part of Tohoku region, was destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Oshu Shioki (punishment given to the powerful clans in Tohoku are to prevent their expansion) in 1590, Ichinoseki Castle was given to a Hideyoshi’s retainer, the Kimura clan, and then became a part of the Date domain. In 1604, Date Masamune transferred his uncle, Rusu Masakage, to this castle, but later in the Kanbun era (1661-1672) his 10th son, Munekatsu was feoffed to this castle. Munekatsu, however, was exiled to Tosa province (present-day Kochi Pref.), being accused of causing Date Disturbance in 1671. In 1682, Tamura Tatsuaki, Masamune’s grandson, was transferred from the Iwanuma domain to this castle, and his 10 successors had resided at this castle until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The ruin of Honmaru (the main castle) called “Senjojiki” is a rectangular land of 100 m by 50 m at the altitude of 90 m above sea level. A ruin of dry moat can be seen on the adjacent hill at the same level as Honmaru, and several other outer compounds were presumably arranged on the terraced land below Honmaru. Koguchi (the main gate) was located in the northeast to Senjojiki. A square land in the southwest is presumed to have been another outer compound such as a watch tower. Now at the side of a small hill in the west of the castle ruins stands Tamura Shrine built by the Tamura clan.
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村雲御所 瑞龍寺 Murakumo-gosho Zuiryuu-ji Murakumo-gosho Zuiryuu-ji Temple

Jp En

Murakumo-gosho Zuiryuu-ji Temple belongs to Nichiren religious sect and is the only Monseki temple among Nichiren temples. It is now located at the top of Hachiman Mountain in Shiga Prefecture.
     The temple was built in 1596 by Nisshuuni, an older sister of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, so she could pray there for the soul of her son, Hidetsugu, who was forced to commit harakiri by the order of Hideyoshi.  
     At the time the temple was built, Nisshuuni was given the land Murakumo of Saga, Kyoto, and the name, Zuiryuu-ji, to the temple by Emperor Goyouzei. The temple attracted many followers from the Imperial family and politically powerful aristocrats and was recognized as a Monseki temple, which is a title given to a temple that had a close relationship with aristocracy, and was called Murakumo-gosho. In the Edo period, the temple was transferred from Saga to Nishijin. The monument of Murakumo-gosho is still present in front of the Nishiji Textile Center.
     In 1962, Nichieini who is the 12th representative of the temple and had dedicated her life to restoring it, moved the temple to its current location, the site of Oumi Hchiman Castle, where Hidetsugu was deeply connected to.
     Magnificent views can be seen from the temple of the beautiful line of Suzuka Mountains far away, the town of Oomi in the south and Biwa Lake in the east. After the transfer, the main building and the gardens were restored by followers. The temple is now open to the public and welcomes visitors.
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玉藻公園 Tamamo-kouen Tamamo Park

Jp En

Tamamo Park located near Takamatsu Station and Harbor was originally a site where Takamatsu Castle stood. The castle was built around 1590 by Ikoma Chikamasa, a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Later in the Edo period (1603-1868), it was taken over by Matsudaira Yorishige, a famous Mito Komon’s elder brother, and the town of Takamatsu flourished under the rule of the Matsudaira Family.

This seaside castle was popularly known by its nickname of Tamamo-jo (Pearly Seaweed Castle) because it was built to be well-guarded by the sea, which was named “Tamamo no Ura” after “Tamamo-yoshi,” the poetic epithet used by Kakinomoto Hitomaro when he referred to Sanuki province (present-day Kagawa Prefecture).

A lot of events such as the chrysanthemum shows, tea ceremonies and plant fairs are held in the park all through the year. Hiunkaku in the premise is a historic building, which is used for conventions, flower arrangement exhibitions and tea ceremonies.
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猿掛城 Sarukake-jyou Sarukake Castle Ruins

Jp En

Sarukake Castle located in the northwester part of Yoshida Basin in Yoshida-cho, Aki Takata City, Hiroshima Pref. was a castle closely related to the Mori clan. It was built during the Meio era (1492-1501) by Mori Hiromoto, Motonari’s father. The castle is well known as the place where Mori Motonari spent his young days till he succeeded the clan. Sarukake Castle stood on the ridge of a mountain facing the Tajihi River running on the border of currently Yakake-cho in Oda-gun and Makibi-cho in Kurashiki City. It functioned as an important base to keep watch on passers coming from and going to the west. After the Battle of Sekigahara, however, the Mori clan lost three provinces including Aki and moved to present-day Hagi, Yamaguchi Pref. The castle became a Shogunal property and later dismantled. Doshoji Temple in Yakake-cho had been the family temple of the successive castellans.
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国峰城跡 Kunimine-jyou-ato Kunimine Castle Ruins

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This mountain castle is one of the largest in Gunma Pref. It was built some time in the late Muromachi period or the Warring States period. It was first resided by the Obata clan, a retainer of the Uesugi clan, the Kanto Kanrei (the responsible head of the shogun’s executive office in the Kanto region), but after his lord, Uesugi Norimasa, who was attacked by the Hojo clan of Odawara, left Hirai Castle (Fujioka City, Gunma Pref.) in 1552, the Obata clan served for Takeda Shingen as his retainer. In the Battle of Nagashino in 1575, the Obata clan joined Takeda’s cavalry as its leading force. After the Takeda clan was destroyed, the Obata clan served for Oda Nobunaga and expanded its territory. In the Siege of Odawara in 1590, the Obata clan fought to protect Odawara Castle and was defeated by the allied forces of daimyo on Hideyoshi’s side, which led to the dismantlement of Kunimine Castle. The castle area of Kunimine Castle is as huge as 2.5 km from north to south and 2 km from east to west. Time-taking restoration work was given to the residential structures. The remains of castle compounds, vertical moats and front approach are also well preserved.
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八王子城跡 Hachiouji-jou-seki Hachioji Castle Ruins

Jp En

Hachioji Castle was located in present Moto-Hachioji-cho, Hachioji City, Tokyo. The castle is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine by Castles and its ruins are designated as a National Historic Site. It is said that the castle was built in the era between 1584 and 1587 by Hojo Ujiteru, the second son of Hojo Ujiyasu, who was the 3rd lord of Odawara Castle. In 1590, the castle was attacked by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s troops with 15,000 soldiers as a part of his national unification campaigns. Though it was one of the largest fort castles in the Kanto region at the time, the castle fell in only one day and was dismantled.

At present, the ruins of Goshuden (the castellan’s residence), attached compounds and stone walls remain in Mt. Fukazawayama (Presently called Shiroyama) with an altitude of 445 m. After the elapse of 400 years, the ruins have been restored to its original forms and the site is open to public since 1990.

Down the slopes in the mountain are some historic sites pertaining to the castle such as the Goshuden-no-taki Waterfall, where Ujiteru’s wife and her maids threw themselves into the water and committed suicide at the attack by Hideyoshi’s troops, the grave yard of Hojo Ujiteru and his retainers, and Ujiteru’s family temple, Sokanji Temple. 
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