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Fukui Castle, erected in 1606 by Yuki Hideyasu, Tokugawa Ieyasu's clandestine son, stands as a testament to a complex family history. Born to Oman, a servant of Ieyasu's wife Tsukiyama Dono, Yuki Hideyasu was concealed by his father out of fear of marital discord. Raised in the shadows until his emergence as a samurai, Yuki proved his mettle in numerous battles, earning accolades from Ieyasu himself.

At the pivotal Battle of Sekigahara, Yuki Hideyasu sided with his father's Eastern forces, showcasing his prowess once more and garnering Ieyasu's admiration. In recognition of his valor, Ieyasu granted him the lands of Shibata Katsuie in Echizen Province (now Fukui Prefecture) and aided in the construction of Fukui Castle. Designed by Ieyasu and fortified with stones from Kitanosho Castle, the castle complex, including the Honmaru and Ni-no-maru precincts, took six years to complete.

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In 1624, Fukui Castle was formally christened by its third lord, Matsudaira Tadamasa, marking the beginning of Fukui Domain's rule under the Matsudaira clan for 270 years. Although the castle's iconic five-story tower keep succumbed to flames in 1669 and was never rebuilt, the resilient stone walls and expansive moats endure as silent witnesses to centuries of history.

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Today, the former castle grounds host governmental and law enforcement offices, yet echoes of Fukui Castle's legacy persist. A monumental stone statue of Yuki Hideyasu graces the landscape, while ongoing efforts seek to enhance the site's historical authenticity, including the restoration of strategic gates like the Rokabashi bridge and the Yamazato-guchi Gomon Gate. The castle's original stone base remains accessible to the public, offering a glimpse into Fukui's storied past amidst the modernity of Fukui Prefecture.

 


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  • Tsuyama Castle

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    Tsuyama Castle, located in Tsuyama City, Okayama Prefecture, is celebrated as one of Japan's top three major hilltop (Hirayama) castles, alongside Himeji and Matsuyama Castles. Originally, Tsuyama Castle comprised 77 structures, including the main keep, various yagura (watchtowers), gates, palaces, and living quarters. For comparison, Hiroshima Castle had 76 structures, and Himeji had 61. The first castle on this site was built in 1441 but was soon abandoned. The large-scale construction that we recognize today began in 1603 under the orders of Mori Tadamasa. The castle served as the administrative base for the Tsuyama Han daimyo, the Mori clan from 1603 to 1697, and the Matsudaira clan from 1698 to 1871.

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  • Tsu Castle

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  • Sasayama Castle

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  • Sadowara Castle

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    Sadowara Castle in Miyazaki Prefecture was a mountaintop yamajiro castle, initially built by the Tajima clan during the Nanboku-Cho period (1334-1394). As was typical of castles from that era, Mt. Kakusho, the chosen mountain, was terraced to create various baileys, or kuruwa. While defensive structures were constructed at the top and around the mountain, the lord's main living quarters and administrative offices were situated at the mountain's base.

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