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.
Jochu-ji Temple is the site of the tomb to the first Yoshinao of the Otomo clan, an ancestor of Sorin Otomo, a Christian feudal lord of the clan. Sorin Otomo conquered the six countries of Kyushu (Bungo, Bunzen, Chikugo, Chikuzen, Higo and Hizen) during the Warring States period.
Jochu-ji Temple is the family temple of Akitsura Betsuki, who was the leading general of the Sorin Family, as well as a lord of the Yoroidake. It is said that Akitsura was partially paralyzed after being struck by lightning. Despite this, he continued to command his army, but from a 'koshi' (a cart-like vehicle).
At one point, the temple was demolished but was later restored by Yoshiteru Honda between 1704 and 1710. A fire destroyed the temple once more, but it was again restored to its present state in 1806 by the great-grandchild of Yoshiteru.
Over 40 types of water iris have been planted at the temple and, every May, the Jochu-ji Temple iris festival takes place. People can also appreciate fireflies here on summer nights.
The ruins of Kameyama castle (Tanpa-Kameyamajo) are located in Kameoka-shi, Kyoto Prefecture. The castle (also known as Kihoujo and Kasumijo) was founded by Akechi Mitsuhide, who was a general under the daimyo Oda Nobunaga, and who lived during the feudal Warring States period. All that remains of the castle today are some parts of the fan-shaped stone wall, the castle tower and the inner moat.
Tanpa-Kameyamajo was built in 1577 by Akechi Mitsuhide, then added to by the daimyo Toudou Takatora, during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. In 1610, he completed the front gate to the five-story main tower and an outer moat, after which the castle became known as the Kameyamajo.
In 1877, the Meiji government had the castle demolished. In 1919, the Japanese religious sect Oomoto-kyo bought the ruins and built the stone wall from the remaining stones of the ruined castle. This wall stands today.
The Kameyamajo is also notorious as the site of the Honnoji Incident. Akechi Mitsuhide, a general under Oda Nobunaga, left the castle to retaliate against Nobunaga at Honnoji, which led to the death of the great Nobunaga. It also resulted in Mitsuhide gaining power and taking over the reins of power in just three days. Indeed, these castle ruins make us ponder and daydream about the Warring States period.
Kaminoyama Castle is located in the center of Kaminoyama City, Yamagata Prefecture. The other name for this castle is Tsukioka Castle. The castle stands on a hill and is a symbol of the castle town, Kamiyama, as much as the rich nature of Tsukioka Park.
Kaminoyama Castle has a long history: in 1528, the Koyanagawa Clan was vanquished by Buei Yoshitada, who then built this castle in 1535. In 1692, the castle was dismantled by the then government, but it was reconstructed in 1982.
The castle features a three-storey tower and is beloved for its small size and beauty. Rebuilt after 290 years, it is now a historical museum exhibiting information about Kaminoyama's history, industry and culture. There is an observation deck at the top of the castle tower from where you can see the Zao Mountains and the city of Kaminoyama.
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.
Matsue Castle is located in Matsue district, Shimane Prefecture. Horio Yoshiharu founded the castle in 1611. It took 5 years to construct. It is also called ‘Plover castle’ because it looks like a beautiful plover spreading its feathers. The castle passed from Horio Yoshiharu and Kyougoku Tadataka to Tokugawa Ieyasu’s grandson Matsudaira Naomasa. The Matsudaira family then commanded the castle for ten generations (234 years). The castle is constructed using a system called ‘Bouroushiki and has six floors that appear to be five storeys from the outside. It is one of the largest and highest among the 12 remaining castles in Japan. From the uppermost floor, the outlook is still beautiful. The beauty of the four seasons (cherry-blossom, autumn leaves, snow flower, etc) can be seen. Nowadays, it is called Matsue Castle Mountain Park and is a sightseeing spot of Matsue district. It is also one of the 100 Japanese Cherry-blossom Landmarks.