Aizu Wakamatsu Castle
|English Name||Aizu Wakamatsu Castle|
|Alternate Names||Tsuruga-jo, Kurokawa-jo|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||5 levels, 7 stories|
|Year Reconstructed||1965 (concrete)|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Wakamatsu Station (Ban'etsu Saisen), 30 minute walk or 10 minutes by bus|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||37° 29' 16", 139° 55' 48"|
|Year Visited||1997, 1998, 2003, 2011|
|Visits||October 1997; January 1998; Sept. 14, 2003; July 17, 2011|
Tsuruga-jo is the strongest and oldest fortress in all of Tohoku. It was originally built in 1384 as Kurokawa-jo by Ashina Naomori. In 1589 Date Masamune defeated Ashina Yoshihiro and moved into Kurokawa-jo. A year later it was absorbed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and governed by Gamo Ujisato. Gamo renovated the castle and renamed it Tsuruga-jo. The reconstructed main keep you see today was built by Gamo.
After the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate the castle was governed by the Matsudaira clan. The Matsudaira were a branch of the Tokugawa family and thus in the category of "inner lords." The "inner lords" were branches of the Tokugawa family who kept watch over the daimyo who were not originally Tokugawa allies and provided a buffer between allied and non-allied daimyo.
The Matsudaira ruled from Tsuruga-jo until the Meiji Restoration when it fell in the Boshin War . The most famous episode from the downfall of Tsuruga-jo is that of the Byakkotai.
The layout, nawabari, of this castle was patterened after that of Osaka Castle during Hideyoshi's time.
The gray roofing tiles were all replaced in 2010-2011 with reddish tiles to match the original construction. The castle has many great moats and stone walls so I recommend taking the time to walk the grounds.