|English Name||Hiroshima Castle|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||5 levels, 5 stories|
|Year Reconstructed||1958 (concrete)|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Hiroshima Station, bus or local train|
|Visitor Information||370 yen; Open 9am-6pm except Dec - Feb closes at 5pm; Open until 7pm during Golden Week and Obon holidays; closed 12/29-12/31. Only the main keep requires admission, the park is free.|
|Time Required||90 mins|
|Location||Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 24' 10", 132° 27' 32"|
|Year Visited||1996, 2014|
|Visits||February 1996; November 23, 2014|
HistoryHiroshima-jo was built by Mori Terumoto in 1591. Mori Terumoto was a very powerful daimyo who controlled the vast majority of the San'in and San'yo areas. Having outgrown his Yoshida-Koriyama castle he built a new castle at Hiroshima in 1599. Mori Terumoto aligned himself with the Western forces in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600). The Western forces lost and Mori's lands were confiscated. He was then appointed to govern most of what is modern day Yamaguchi prefecture.
One of Hideyoshi's former allies, Fukushima Masanori filled Terumoto's place at Hiroshima. After Fukushima was stationed in Hiroshima, it's said that he got nostalgic for his old days under Hideyoshi. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the Tokugawa. In 1617 a great flood caused much damage to Hiroshima-jo. Fukushima petitioned the Tokugawa government for permission to fix it but he never received an answer. According to Tokugawa law, all daimyo needed permission to build, rebuild or renovate any castle. The only reply Fukushima got from the Tokugawa was "under investigation" and permission never came.
Two years later he proceeded on his own and started to fix the flood damage. Fukushima was caught in a Tokugawa trap. Since he defied their laws, they took away his lands around Hiroshima and gave him a smaller, less profitable province in modern day Nagano prefecture.
Hiroshima-jo lasted through the Meiji Restoration and was named a National Treasure in 1931 only to be destroyed by the atomic bomb in WWII.
The main keep is typical of early concrete reconstructions, but the reconstructions around the main gate are very nicely done in wood and much more interesting. Take your time to walk around the Obikuruwa area behind the keep. There are nice views of the moats and stone walls. Despite the fact that the main areas were very crowded this day there was only one other person enjoying this quiet area of the castle.