Himeji Castle - KawaGozabune

From Jcastle.info

Himeji Castle - Himeji Domain River Barge


I think this was one of the coolest finds I've made in recent years of castle'ing and something I happened upon by reading a blog completely unrelated to castles! This is the river pleasure barge of the Himeji Domain. It is the only extant Edo Period Daimyo river barge and one of only 3 surviving Edo Period Daimyo boats (the other two are in Kumamoto and Kagawa Prefs.). It can be found at the Sorakuen Garden in Kobe.

This boat (gozabune) was likely built between 1682 and 1704. What you see here corresponds to the cabin section of the boat. The actual barge portion is long gone. We can precisely estimate when it was built because the many kamon you see here are of the Sakakibara (wagon wheel looking family crests) and underneath these are the kamon of the Honda. The only period when Sakakibara followed Honda was in 1704 when the Sakakibara took over from the Honda who had been lords of Himeji Castle from 1682 so we have a good guess that it was built between 1682 and 1704!

The boat was continuously used throughout the Edo Period but was sold into private hands during the Meiji Period when the cabin was detached and used as a tea house. In 1978 it was donated to the city of Kobe and moved to its current location. It was designated an Important Cultural Property in 1953.

I really think this site should be more well marketed and connected to the castle. The interior is occasionally opened to visitors during some festivals or events.

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