Maizuru Park in Takanabe Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is where Takanabe Castle was located till the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). As the shape of the premise looked like a crane wheeling in the sky, the castle was called “Maizuru Castle (Flying Crane Castle).”
Maizuru Park Cherry Festival, or also called Maizuru Castle Ruins Cherry Festival, is held from late March to early April. During the festival period, 1,000 stocks of mountain cherry and Somei Yoshino are in full bloom. 2,000 stocks of azalea also come into bloom in this season, making a wonderful contrast with the cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms are lit up at night.
The park is bustled with people who enjoy cherry blossom viewing as well as a lot of events such an the athletic meet, a local product fair, a sketch contest, an entertainment show, tea ceremony and lighting of Maizuru Lantern.
Lantern Festival is held in the area around Maizuru Park in Takanabe Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, on around October 15 every year under the theme “To foster the moral principal,” which was the motto of “Meirindo,” the official school of the Takanabe domain established by the 3rd lord of the domain, Akizuki Nobutane, in the late 17th century.
About 1,500 stone and bamboo lanterns place in the main festival site as well as in many places in the town are lit at the same time, which fantastically illuminate this old castle town. Among them are unique paper lanterns made by elementary and junior high school students. Including the volunteers who light lanterns, all the townspeople cooperate with one another to make the festival successful.
On the festival day, various events such as the jazz concert “Horidoko no Utage” and the local product fair are held everywhere in the park.
The remains of Tendo Castle (also known as Maizuru Castle) are located in Kitame, Tendo, in Yamagata Prefecture.
Tendo Castle was known as a natural stronghold because of its location on the summit of a mountain, enclosed by rigid cliffs on all sides and with a swamp to its north. Whoever wanted to reach the castle had to climb up a very steep slope.
The castle is said to have been built in 1375 by Mogami Yorinao, who had the Tendo family build it on Mt Maizuru. The Tendo family bravely fought against Mogami Yoshimitsu, who strove to unify Dewa, however, over two generations they were defeated, leading to the eventual downfall and collapse of Tendo Castle in 1584.
The Tendo clan, deprived of the power and respect it once had, fell into a dismal state. By the time the Oda family moved to Teno in 1830, the Tendo clan were engaged as craftsmen making pieces for the game of shogi.
At the end of the Edo period, the karo (top-ranking samurai officials and advisors in service to the daimyo of feudal Japan) encouraged the hanshi (vassals of the Daimyo) to make pieces for shogi as well.
The castle ruins became the Mt Maizuru park, and the Atago shrine, which Yoshiaki built at the ruins after his victories still remain here. Every year in April, an interesting event takes place on Mr Maizuru called 'human shogi'. Professional shogi players become the actual game pieces.
Tendo Castle is a historic spot, now famous as the town of Shogi.
The remains of Fukuoka Castle are located in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka. The castle was originally constructed in 1601 by the founder of the Fukuoka clan, Nagamasa Kuroda. It took seven years to complete and also goes by the name of Maizuru-jo, or Dancing-Crane Castle.
It is a castle positioned on the flat top of a hill, and once had at least 47 different watchtowers and turrets of different sizes. Because it did not have a significant tower keep, it was never looked upon as a threat by the central government, which explains why it stood without damage through the Meiji period.
The castle features several three-storied turrets known as yagura: Tabun Yagura (an Important Cultural Treasure), Shiomi Yagura and Kinen Yagura, as well as the Moritaheitei Nagayamon Gate and the Najima Mon Gate. The Dai Tenshudai has become an observation deck. In the area surrounded by the castle moat, can be found Cyperus Ohwii trees, designated by the prefecture as a protected species. There is also a monument commemorating the 'Manyoushu' poetry classic.
At present, the surroundings of the castle have become Maizuru Park, and there are also several sports facilities, such as the Heiwadai Track and Field Stadium. The castle is also a famous cherry-blossom viewing spot. In Showa 32, the castle was designated as a national historic site.
Maizuru Park is located in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City and is the site of Fukuoka Castle (Maizuru Castle).
Before the Second World War, this park was the headquarters of the 24th infantry regiment. After Fukuoka City acquired the site, Yaroku Miyoshi, the Fukuoka mayor at that time, renamed it 'Peace Hill' Park in order to 'make a sound and peaceful society, and to recover from war damage through sports'.
Peace Hill Sports Park is situated within the park, and includes Peace Hill Baseball Ground. Included in the park is a track field for athletics and tennis courts.
In spring, the cherry and apricot trees bloom and many people come to see them. The apricot blooms some time between February and March; the 'hirado' azalea in April; the moutan, wisteria, peony and calamus in May; hydrangea in June; and lotus in August. Indeed, Maizuru Park is where you can enjoy flowers throughout the four seasons.
A game of shogi (Japanese chess) with human pieces forms part of the Tendo Sakura Festival. This festival takes place annually on Mt Maizuru in Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture.
The Tendo district is deeply related to the game of shogi. For example, 95% of the shogi pieces are made here. The idea of having games of shogi with human players has its origin in a story that Toyotomi Hideyoshi played shogi against Toyotomi Hidetsugu by using his subordinates as pieces. The tradition has passed down ever since. The different people who 'play' the pieces wear armor or period costumes and have the audiences tell them which role they are in the game.
Every year, the shogi game takes place on Mt Maizuru at a time when over 2000 cherry trees are in blossom. The combination of cherry blossoms with a game of shogi in which professional shogi players use human pieces makes a compelling event. It is a splendid yet stern occasion that charms many citizens and visitors.
Karatsu Castle, which stands open onto Karatsu Bay, has a rare structure that the stonework is directly put up out of the sea water. It is a medium-size castle with the Honmaru (main castle) located on top of Mt. Manto, the Ninomaru (2nd castle) and the Sannomaru (3rd castle) in the west, and the outer structures in the south. In 1576, Hideyoshi Toyotomi allowed Hirotaka Terasawa to be the head of Karatsu Clan. However, he fought the Battle of Sekigahara on the eastern side (Ieyasu’s forces), and was rewarded with a dominion with 123,000 koku. In 1598, Hirotaka abandoned the original castle of Nagoya and built a new castle on top of Mt. Manto. In 1637, taking responsibility for the defeat of Shimabara rebellion, Terasawa’s lands were all confiscated by the Shogunate. Later on, several domain lords had been placed as the castellans of this castle, and the Ogasawara family finally occupied it until the castle was dismantled by the Meiji restoration. The buildings were demolished and the castle site was changed into Maizuru Park. Later in 1966, the donjon in the 5th floor 5 layers, gates and the watch tower were reconstructed. Seen from the bridge over the Matsuura River, those constructions with surrounding stonework and white walls look impressive.