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Fukuyama Castle: A stellar reconstruction of an Edo-period castle

By Elizabeth Sok

Located in Hiroshima Prefecture’s Fukuyama City, Fukuyama Castle has a long history stretching back nearly 400 years. For a stellar reconstruction of an Edo-period castle as well as great views of the surrounding cityscape, make a trip out to Fukuyama Castle.

Planned in 1619 and completed in 1622, Fukuyama Castle is considered one of Japan’s top 100 castles. Built at the beginning of the Edo period on top of a hill measuring 400 meters long and 200 meters wide, the castle was constructed at the orders of Mizuno Katsunari, a relative of the founder of the reigning shogun of Japan, the powerful Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Fukuyama Castle remained in the hands of the Mizuno clan until the end of the century when it changed hands to the Abe clan, one of the oldest and most influential in Japanese history. As Japan opened to the outside world and the Meiji Restoration commenced in the second half of the 19th century, much of the castle was demolished except the main keep and a handful of structures. Meanwhile, the grounds were transformed into a public park.

During the Second World War, the remaining parts of the castle were destroyed in the Allied air raids. The early postwar decades were a period of resurgence for Fukuyama Castle as several initiatives led by both the government and the public helped to bring the site back to its former glory.

The Castle

Today, Fukuyama Castle consists of a five-tiered keep surrounded by several defensive turrets and the main gate, Sugitetsu Gomon. From the top of the keep, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the park and city below. The public park founded over a hundred years ago, continues to attract crowds, especially during the spring when cherry blossoms come into bloom. With over 300 trees planted, including yoshino, sato and wild cherry tree varieties, the park is a must-see for visitors making a trip to the city in late March and early April.

The Museum

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Visited several times with friends living in the city. Worthwhile if in the area. Also, the art museum is worth a visit.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

For a stellar reconstruction of an Edo-period castle as well as great views of the surrounding cityscape, make a trip out to Fukuyama Castle.

Reconstruction with a cityscape back drop?

Sounds meh. Another 大阪城. Good for the tourists, I suppose.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Nearby are several good museums and a rose garden in the summer months. Many good restaurants in Fukuyama.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The museums and the rose garden might be better.

"Edo period castles" were primarily luxury homes for the 大名. They had lost their primary function of defence. So a reconstruction would not be interesting at all. Especially to visit a few times unless you are new to this sort of thing.

Much better to go to 二条城.

The art of 襖 is divine for starters. Or a good quality museum stocked with national treasures. Or a real castle.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I have been to Nijo Castle many times. But I visit my friends in Fukuyama, not Kyoto. The area with the castle and the museums makes for a good walk.

The article is about Fukuyama. A small city.

Stalking again today.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We live near Himeji Castle which is probably the best one in the country. When we take the Shinkansen to Fukuyama we pass the Himeji Castle. It dominates the city line.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I’ve never been to the castle, but I do love the fact that the main station is right next to it.

When I’m taking the shinkansen on my way to Fukuoka I love it when it stops at Fukuyama, the station platform offers amazing views of the castle, probably the best of any station in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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