See Japan's castles the easy way
Article posted on Wednesday, April, 7th, 2010 at 6:22 pm
Am I the only one who finds this surprising? There are broken roof tiles laying around at almost every castle I visit. Are castles the dumping ground for Karate practitioners who punch & head-butt tiles or did they once belong to the castle’s original buildings?
Perhaps I’m placing too much value on what is essentially debris, but these are things I see on display, in glass cabinets. Also, in some parts of Japan, finds like these would make it to the front page of the newspaper. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whether you’ve visited castles or not.
Article posted on Saturday, March, 13th, 2010 at 9:15 pm
I never really had the desire to jump in front of a camera but I’ve pretty much gone the whole hog here. It’s from my trip to Yatsushiro which is about an hour south of Kumamoto city. I had myself a good time. Please comment and don’t be reserved. Any & all feedback is welcome, even un-constructive criticism. Bring it on!
The full Yatsushiro castle profile page is finally up! Check it out.
Article posted on Friday, February, 19th, 2010 at 7:34 pm
Planning for a day trip
In March I’ll have some spare time on my hands so I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to check out some of the castles I haven’t been to in southern Kumamoto Prefecture. The candidates include Yatsushiro, Uto, Hitoyoshi & Sashiki castles. A little investigating revealed even more, (smaller and older) castles that I wouldn’t mind checking out if time allows.
While searching for information on Yatsushiro castle, I came across news of the recently (not really) rediscovered Mugishima Castle. And the most surprising thing about this castle is that the locals would’ve been quite happy to see the remnants bulldozed. But more on that later.
The castle was built in 1588 by Konishi Yukinaga, a Christian daimyō who eventually lost this castle & his life following defeat in the Battle of Sekigahara. The Katō clan then took over and continued to use the castle until 1619 when it became damaged by a major earthquake.
A law was enacted in 1615 that essentially limited each domain to just one castle. While the number of castles was greatly reduced in the years that followed, the shogunate also made numerous exceptions, Kumamoto domain being one. Special permission had been granted that allowed both Kumamoto & Mugishima castles to be retained after 1615 & permission was once again obtained for Yatsushiro Castle to be built 1619. Hosokawa Tadaoki retired to here the following year.
Mugishima Castle’s rediscovery
During the building of a road & sewer, stonework belonging to Mugishima Castle was unearthed. Naturally, all work had to stop to allow for an investigation into the old castle’s remains. Substantial stonework along with broken roof tiles & collapsed turrets walls were eventually uncovered.
The following is a time line that will illustrate the truly glacial pace at which events occurred.
- 1950 – Decision made to build the road
- 1960 – Construction permit obtained
- 1965 – Parts of the castle were excavated. Declared Important Cultural Property
- 1996 – Further excavations were carried out
The final word
A great deal of tension existed between the parties involved, local residents wanted their road (having waited for so many years) & there were those who wanted the site preserved. A compromise was reached that would see the road & sewer work continue and also the site preserved. The path of the road would continue straight over the top of the ruins & the sewer would be built 7 meters below the ruins and with that, Mugishima Castle’s moment in the sun ended.
Photo via wikipedia