Hikone-Castle.jpg

Hikone Castle, nestled in Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, is categorized as a hirayama-jiro, a castle strategically built on a low hill with the surrounding flatlands integrated into its design. Remarkably, it stands as one of Japan's twelve castles with its original tower keep intact, proudly holding the distinction of being one of only five designated as National Treasures. The castle's inception dates back to 1603, commissioned by Ii Naomasa.

Originally, the Hikone region fell under the control of Ishida Mitsunari, who fortified his main castle on nearby Mt. Sawayama. However, following his defeat by Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, the Ishida domain faced turmoil, with Sawayama suffering partial destruction. Seizing the opportunity, Ieyasu bestowed the strategically vital lands upon his trusted ally, General Ii Naomasa. Disdainful of the associations with Ishida Mitsunari, Naomasa opted to build a larger, more formidable castle closer to Lake Biwa's eastern shores, a decision that birthed Hikone Castle.

Though Naomasa passed away before its completion in 1602, his sons, Naotsugu and later Naotaka, oversaw the twenty-year construction period. Given the ongoing military conflicts, many structures within Hikone Castle were repurposed from other castles, exemplifying resourcefulness amidst turmoil. For instance, the main keep of Hikone originated from Otsu Castle, dismantled after the Battle of Sekigahara. Hikone's keep, adorned with 18 sets of hafu (triangular roofing devices), stands as a testament to its architectural magnificence.

Renowned for its defensive prowess, Hikone Castle boasts ingenious features to thwart potential attackers. The sloping path leading to the central bailey, although appearing gentle, is deliberately designed with varying step dimensions to impede momentum and balance. The castle's Rokabashi Bridge, collapsible and strategically positioned, further deters intruders, enhancing the stronghold's impregnability.

Hikone-Castle2.jpg

Moreover, Hikone Castle harbors hidden secrets within its walls, including a small triangular-shaped chamber within the hafu. This clandestine room, accessible through a discreet hatchway, is believed to have been designed for ritual suicide in dire circumstances, ensuring the lord's dignity in defeat.

Beyond its defensive fortifications, Hikone Castle's allure extends to its picturesque surroundings, including the tranquil Genkyu Rakuen gardens and the historic Keyaki Goten palace residence. A visit to the castle museum offers insights into the legacy of the Ii clan, showcasing original artifacts and weaponry used by the family.

Hikone-Castle3.jpg

Shiga Prefecture's National Treasure, Hikone Castle, stands as a testament to Japan's feudal heritage and architectural prowess, inviting visitors to explore its rich history and timeless beauty.

 


Siehe auch

  • Ueda Castle

    Ueda-Castle.jpg

    Ueda Castle in Nagano Prefecture once stood prominently on a cliff overlooking the Saigawa River. Also known as Amagafuchi-Jo, Isesaki-Jo, Matsuo-Jo, and Sanada-Jo, it was built around 1583 by its first master, Sanada Masayuki. This sturdy yet small fortress cleverly utilized the surrounding natural defenses, including the river, steep rocky cliffs, the layout of the town below, and the strategically designed waterways to hinder attackers. Ueda Castle was fortified with seven defensive yagura (watchtowers) atop robust stone walls and had two large gates with watchtowers above them.

    Read more …

  • Tsuyama Castle

    Tsuyama_Castle.jpg

    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.

    Read more …

  • Tsu Castle

    Tsu-Castle.jpg

    Tsu Castle, located in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, was originally built by Hosono Fujiatsu in 1558 and was known as Anotsu Castle, named after the old region. The site was strategically chosen at the confluence of the Ano and Iwata Rivers, which naturally formed a moat around the castle, while the nearby port served as a vital trade route.

    Read more …

  • Sasayama Castle

    Sasayama-Castle.jpg

    Tamba Sasayama Castle, also known as Sasayama or Kirigajo (Mist Castle), is a flatland castle (hira-jiro) situated on a gentle rise in the Tamba region of Hyogo Prefecture. It was constructed in 1608 as part of Tokugawa Ieyasu's strategy to prepare for an attack on Osaka, aiming to bring an end to the Toyotomi clan. Ieyasu ordered the castle's construction using the Tenka Bushin system, engaging 20 former enemy daimyo and their forces to complete the complex within six months. This system kept the former enemies close and preoccupied, financially straining them and limiting their capacity for further conflict. The stones used in Sasayama Castle feature engravings called kokumon, indicating who made each part of the walls and preventing theft by other lords' men.

    Read more …

  • Sadowara Castle

    Sadowara-Castle.jpg

    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.

    Read more …

  • Osaka Castle

    Osaka-Castle.jpg

    Osaka Castle is a prominent symbol of Osaka City, originally constructed in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi on the site of the Ishiyama Hongan-ji temple-fortress, which had been the scene of a violent uprising by warrior monks and peasants in the late 16th century. Modeled on Oda Nobunaga’s Azuchi Castle, the original Osaka Castle tenshu (tower keep) featured five visible floors, six interior floors, and two underground basements. The exterior was lacquered black and adorned with gold decorations, including large peony flowers, tigers, birds, and various crests.

    Read more …

  • Okazaki Castle

    Okazaki-Castle.jpg

    The Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, was born in Okazaki Castle in 1542 during a period of significant civil unrest. At that time, the Tokugawa, then known as the Matsudaira, controlled the rice-rich Mikawa plains of what is now eastern Aichi Prefecture. This fertile region was highly coveted by surrounding warlords. Ieyasu, a shrewd leader and brilliant tactician, managed to maintain and expand his territories. Following in the footsteps of other national unifiers, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Ieyasu emerged victorious at the decisive Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. In 1603, he was invested as Shogun, a title he made hereditary, enabling the Tokugawa family to rule Japan for the next 250 years.

    Read more …

  • Ogaki Castle

    Ogaki-Castle.jpg

    Ogaki Castle, located in Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture, was originally built around 1500 by Miyakawa Yasusada and named Ushiya Castle due to the Ushiya River serving as a natural moat. The castle was also known as Bi Castle and Kyoroku Castle. The Ogaki region held strategic importance as a transit point between Mino and Omi Provinces, a fact recognized by Saito Dosan, the Viper of Mino. When Oda Nobunaga captured Gifu Castle in 1567, Ogaki Castle came under Oda rule. Both Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi understood the strategic significance of the castle. In 1595, Hideyoshi ordered Ito Sukemori to expand the castle and construct the Tenshu keep.

    Read more …

 

futer.jpg

Contact: samuraiwr22@gmail.com