Akashi Castle

From Jcastle.info
Castle Properties
English Name Akashi Castle
Japanese Name 明石城
Alternate Names Kishun-jo
Founder Ogasawara Tadazane
Year Founded 1619
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period


Artifacts Tatsumi Yagura, Hitsujisaru Yagura
Features gates, turrets, water moats, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Akashi Sta (San'yo Line), 5 min walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.hyogo-park.or.jp/akashi/contents/sisetsu/map01 2.html
Location Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 39' 8", 134° 59' 31"
Admin Visits
Year Visited 2009
Visits November 14, 2009
Added 2007
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Akashi1.jpg


History

Ogasawara Tadazane (former lord of Matsumoto), moved into the area in 1617. In 1619, under the orders of Tokugawa Hidetada he built Akashi Castle in just one year for the purposes of watching over the Western lords and building up the Tokugawa defenses in the region. He accomplished building this castle in so little time mainly because he used materials from castles in the area that were decomissioned under the one castle per country law of 1615. The castle deftly makes use of the natural terrain in a 3 tiered castle compound. Ogasawara's father-in-law Honda Tadamasa, who also directed the construction of Himeji Castle, assisted with the construction of Akashi castle. Even though they build a large foundation for a large main keep, no main keep was ever built. In it's place the honmaru had 4 large 3 story yagura, two of which are still standing today. Eventually, Ogasawara Tadazane was moved to Kokura Castle and the lordship of Akashi Castle changed hands several times until it was taken over by Matsudaira Naoakira in 1682. The Matsudaira continued to ruled until the coming of the Meiji Restoration.

Visit Notes

You mostly only see pictures of the 2 main yagura for this castle, but I was also impressed by the many stone walls and well defined baileys that still exist. I didn't notice until it was dark and too late to take any pictures, but it looks like you can get some good pictures from the train station too including both yagura.


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Gallery



2.84
(19 votes)
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ARTHatamoto

7 months ago
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I have been here many times, because I lived just outside of Akashi for a year as an exchange student. After several years I came back armed with a lot more castle know-how and my camera. I made a thorough inspection of Akashijō, not just the two Edo Period yagura (turrets) for which it is known, but also its many baileys and ishigaki. It really is an expansive site and I was there for a couple of hours until it became too dark to continue exploring the park. The Ishigaki here are really fantastic. The yagura were closed but I had been inside one of them when I lived here and remembered it well. Finally after these interceding years I feel like I have explored this castle completely. Akashijō has many stone walls, a moat, many baileys, and surviving historical buildings, so it is a great site. Opposite the castle entrance is also a relocated historical Nagayamon (Row House Gate).
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LampshadePeasant

10 months ago
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Ah, I didn't see them! At least I can add it to my list of excuses to go back ;)
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ARTHatamoto

10 months ago
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Lampshade, you can also see Hanakuma Castle ruins on that Line (Tokaido Honsen), between Motomachi and Nishi-Motomachi stations.

http://jcast...akuma-Castle
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LampshadePeasant

10 months ago
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I actually only saw this castle from the train (not shinkansen) passing by. The first time I was squashed against the door window a while past sunset, the train was packed full, and the turrets were lighted up bright and were very clear even in the dark. The second time I was going the other way, towards Kobe, it still looked very white and much longer in the daylight. Taking the express is actually a pretty good way to do some, well, express sightseeing of Kobe. You can easily see Akashi Castle, Akashi-Kaikyo (on clear days), Kobe Tower, Mt.Rokko and the ropeway, the Tetsujin Statue, etc.
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Kiddus i2003Ashigaru

44 months ago
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The little castle that should be. I wish that this could be restored as the area that is park now would look great with a castle behind those great walls.
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RaymondWHatamoto

67 months ago
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I finally feel that I have done Akashi Castle properly after four visits. It was third time lucky last month before I was able to get inside one of the original yaguras (turrets). Tatsumi Yagura is open to the public on weekends in April, June, and October. I had to come back today to get inside Hitsujisaru Yagura, which is open to the public on weekends in March, May, September, and November. The volunteers who work there told us the other months are either too cold or hot to keep the turrets open. Given they sit outside the turrets, that is completely understandable. Inside the Hitsujisaru Yagura is a model of Akashi Castle and its surrounding castle town during the Edo Period. From the front as seen from JR Akashi Station, both Tatsumi Yagura and Hitsujisaru Yagura look roughly about the same size, but Hitsujisaru Yagura is actually a little larger and wider if seen from its north-south profile. It is roughly 1.5 times wider according to the volunteer guide at the Tatsumi Yagura last month. The volunteer guide today at the Hitsujisaru Yagura told us that Akashi Castle originally had 20 yaguras with four three-storey yaguras. According to one of the castle books that I have, some of these yaguras were built with materials taken from other castles such Funage Castle (Tatsumi Yagura), Fushimi Castle (Hitsujisaru Yagura), Takasago Castle, and Edayoshi Castle. There is also a Yakuimon-style gate from Fushimi Castle, which was first relocated to Akashi Castle before it was moved to Geshouji Temple in 1874. Having been inside both the original yaguras now, which are simple mini-museums with exhibits of original tiles (in the Hitsujisaru Yagura), explanations about the history of the castle (in both yaguras), and some replica castle maps, this castle site certainly deserves a solid 3.5 stars. If the upper floors of the yaguras were open to the public and there was an English pamphlet available (for purchase), then this could be bumped up to a four star site. Yes, from the train station, it does not look that special, but it does have lots of impressive stone walls, moats, and two original yaguras. Both the yaguras are constructed mainly from pine, and the volunteer guides are friendly and knowledgeable.
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RebolforcesAshigaru

79 months ago
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Park ok, close to station. More of a facade than a castle.
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FurinkazanHatamoto

86 months ago
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Two days ago i went to this castle. The turrets are nice and indeed the walls are impressive. Sadly the weather was very bad, so i couldn't appreciate to the fullest the site. I think with beautiful weather i would have stayed longer in the parc, which is very nice for a stroll. I appreciated the pontoon they have built behind the wall. It gives you almost the position of a shooter over the wall(such devices were installed at some castles during sieges, that's why some of the firing holes are very low. The men below had to kneel for firing their weapons).

It is very difficult to take a nice picture from the JR station. There are some electric cables hanging in between.
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KyushudanPeasant

96 months ago
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Unfortunately, both turrets were well shut. I'll be doing some research before my next trip here, that's for sure.
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JcastleHatamoto

96 months ago
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No, only Hitsujisaru was open and the upstairs was roped off too. Was it open when you were there?
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KyushudanPeasant

96 months ago
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This is definitely one of my favourite castles. And in my opinion, as good as Marugame & Uwajima castles put together.

Great pics.

Were you free to go to the top of the Hitsujisaru turret? And, was the other turret open too?
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RaymondWHatamoto

100 months ago
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I often pass this castle on my way to other castles like Himeji Castle and Okayama Castle. However, I finally decided to drop in and suss it out yesterday. It's a pretty decent castle to visit. There is no castle keep, but in lieu of that there are two original three-storey towers to see. The stone base of the castle keep is located very close to the Hitsujisaru Yagura. Both the yaguras were not open to the public when I was there, so I could not see the inside. There are plenty of stone walls, ponds, and a water moat left, but there are no surviving gates or other buildings within the castle grounds. Access to Akashi Castle is very easy. It is just opposite the JR Akashi Station. Like many lesser known castles in Japan, this place is fairly free of tourists. Entry is free.