|English Name||Fukuyama Castle|
|Alternate Names||Hisamatsu-jo, Iyoo-jo|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||5 levels, 6 stories|
|Year Reconstructed||1966 (concrete)|
|Artifacts||Fushimi Yagura, Sujigane Gate|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Fukuyama Sta. (San'yo line); 2 minute walk|
|Location||Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 29' 28", 133° 21' 40"|
|Visits||November 14, 2009|
In 1619, Mizuno Katsunari, a cousin of Tokugawa Ieyasu, was the first of the Tokugawa hereditary vassals (fudai daimyo) to be stationed in the Chuugoku region. He was placed here at Fukuyama to be just between the non-hereditary vassals (tozama daimyo) in Hiroshima and Okayama. He received great support from the Tokugawa in the form of money, materials and buildings transferred from Fushimi Castle to build this rather large and strong castle (23 yagura and 10 gates) quickly. It shows the importance Tokugawa placed on showing his strength to these tozama daimyo. The castle was completed in 1622.
Fukuyama Castle was one of the greatest castles of the Edo Period and many buildings survived the Meiji Restoration, but were mostly destroyed in the air raids of 1945. Only the Fushimi Yagura and Sujigane Gate survived.
Right next to the train station, it's worth your time to stop and visit on the way through. You can take the best pictures of the Fushimi yagura and Tsukimi yagura from the train platform heading towards Osaka. Plan accordingly so you have some time to take pictures from here. I didn't realize that until it was too late and had only a few minutes to get a couple pictures.