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Kanazawa Castle: A significant historical landmark since the 16th century

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By Abhijit Sen

Japanese castles are an essential part of Japan’s cultural heritage. Although many people associate them with imposing structures and tall towers, that isn’t the case for some. An example of such a castle is Kanazawa Castle, which is unique in its features. Located in Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture, the castle was built in 1580 by Lord Maeda Toshiie. It served as the residence of the Maeda family, who governed the Kaga Domain for over 280 years.

Kanazawa Castle Restoration

In 2008, Kanazawa Castle was designated as a National Historic Site. Image: PIXTA/ TAKEZO

Despite facing numerous devastating fires over the years, some of the castle’s structures have been reconstructed to their original glory. The castle was fortified with moats and loopholes in the outer wall, and its roof tiles were made of weathered lead. During the Maeda family’s reign, the castle was a symbol of their power and wealth. Unfortunately, the castle’s central keep was destroyed by fire in 1759.

The park’s most iconic features are the two towering turrets: Hishi-Yagura and Tsuzuki-Yagura, which were constructed using traditional woodworking techniques. These turrets and the connecting storehouse have been equipped with modern amenities such as elevators and stairlifts to ensure accessibility for all. Visitors can also explore the castle’s stone walls, which were built in different periods, with some dating back over 400 years. Before its restoration, Kanazawa Castle served different purposes, such as a Japanese army base and a campus for Kanazawa University. In 2008, it was designated as a National Historic Site.

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Looking at the castle there are two things that occur to me. One, it looks like a really cool structure. Two, it would be hard not to imagine it peopled with the ones from long ago. I'd like to walk around and soak it in.

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