Kaijo Park is located on the site of Yamagata Castle, in Yamagata. Recently, strong efforts have been made to complete renovation of the castle. On the 100th anniversary of the founding of Yamagata City, the Ote gateway to the castle was renovated and is being exhibited twice a year.
In 1356, Shiba Kaneyori built defensive stockades, which became the foundations of Yamagata Castle. From 1592, Mogami Yoshiaki, his descendant, remodeled it over 13 years and completed the present castle's form. After he started ruling his territory of 570,000 goku (a unit of land that can produce enough rice for one person per year), 12 custodians took over from him.
The remaining stone walls and moats give an indication of the original castle. Within the castle grounds is a structure called Saisei-kan that shows a Western style different to the other buildings.
Now, the park is famous as a place to view cherry blossoms and enjoy hanami parties in spring.
The Hishi Turret was built to guard the front and back gates of Kanazawa Castle. 'Yagura', the word here for turret, can also mean 'arrow storage', like an armory, although the turret was used more as a guard tower.
Rising from a 11.7m-high stone wall, the Hishi Turret itself is close to 17m high, giving the whole structure an intimidating total height of 30m.
The name Hishi (Diamond) Turret, is derived from the diamond shape of the horizontal plane surface of the turret. The inner angles of the diamond's four corners are 80 degrees and 100 degrees respectively. The 100 or so wooden internal beams and pillars are likewise all diamond-shaped, hinting at the advanced skill required to construct the building. The structure connecting the Hishi Turret and the Hashizume Turret is the Gojikken Armory.
When Oda Nobunaga attacked Kotani Castle, the stronghold of Asai Nagamasa, Kinoshita Tokichiro (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) rescued Oichi and her three daughters just before the castle collapsed.
In November 1573, the Asai Clan fell and Tokichiro was awarded Asai territory. Tokichiro took the new name Hashiba Hideyoshi, and became the first feudal lord with a castle. The following year, Hideyoshi commenced construction of a castle in Imahama. He used materials from Kotani Castle or hidden ones from Takebu Island.
In the autumn of 1575, the castle was completed and Hideyoshi changed the name of the district from Imahama to 'Nagahama', and relocated here from Kotani Castle. At that time, he was attacking Hokuriku or the Chugoku region as Nobunaga's advance guard.
In 1582, after Nobunaga's death, Shibata Katsutoyo gained possession of his castle but Hideyoshi quickly recaptured it and used it as a stronghold during the Shizugadake Battle.
After that, many generals lived in the castle, but when the Toyotomi family fell, the castle was dismantled and much of the material, like the stone walling, was used in the construction of Hikone Castle.
Today's Nagahama Castle was rebuilt using public donations and support in 1983 as a historical museum.
Zuiryu-ji Temple is located in Takaoka district, Toyama prefecture. The highly-appraised zenshuyou architecture of this temple dates back to the early Edo period. The temple is famous as having the longest cloister in Japan.
The 3rd Lord of Kaga, Maeda Toshitsune, founded the temple in memory of his ancestor, Maeda Toshinaga. In the 17th century, Toshinaga was known as Akeno. He established a castle in the uninhabited area, and brought merchants and people to help establish the town and work the land. Consequently, he acquired an enormous posession.
Toshitsune, who inherited all this, felt it his duty to establish a temple, and built it with the support of Yamashita-Zenemon-Yoshihiro. It took about 20 years to build, and today has a magnificent appearance that astonishes visitors.
Today, the Buddhist sanctuary, lecture hall and gate have been designated as national treasures. In addition, the main entrance gate, meditation hall, hallway, the semi-enclosed corridor and the tea room have been designated as important cultural properties.
Streets featuring 'udatsu' may be seen in the town of Waki, Tokushima. The Agency of Cultural Affairs has designated these streets as Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings in Japan. In addition, The Ministry of Construction has selected these streets to be included among 100 (Famous) Streets of Japan and 100 (Famous) Urban Landscapes.
Udatsu are the white-plastered parts above the first floor of the houses, and were originally built to act as firewalls between each house. However, they slowly took on a more decorative function, becoming increasingly gorgeous. Eventually, roof tiles came to cover the plaster.
Fine udatsu were created for the houses of merchants around the Kansai area. The proverb 'Can’t build up the udatsu' comes from these udatsu.
To preserve these streets, the town of Waki followed national regulations for urban scenery in 1998, which led to Waki's streets being selected as the 28th Urban Landscape of Japan by The Agency of Cultural Affairs.
These streets featuring udatsu have a calm and nostalgic feel that makes you think of everyday life in Edo times.