Matsue CastleMatsue City, Shimane Prefecture

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Matsue Castle DATA
TenshuExisting castle tower|National Treasure Gojo
Other nameChidori Castle
castle construction1611
address1-5 Tonomachi, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture
telephone number0852-21-4030
Opening hours8:30-18:00 (Reception until 18:00)
closing dayOpen all year round
Admission feeAdults 680 yen / Elementary and junior high school students 290 yen
Access to Matsue Castle
About 10 minutes by bus from JR Matsue Station.

HISTORYHistory of Matsue Castle, the only existing castle tower in the Sanin region

Matsue Castle was built in 1611 and is one of only 12 castle towers in existence in Japan. There is a theory that the castle got its other name, ``Chidori Castle,'' because it had a decoration called ``Chidori Gable'' when it was built. Let's take a look at the history of Matsue Castle.

Matsue Castle before the Edo period
Matsue Castle is said to have its origins in Suetsugu Castle, which was built during the Kamakura period by a man named Sasaki Tanekyo, who served as the guardian of Izumo and Oki. Mr. Sasaki later called himself Suetsugu, hence this name. Suetsugu Castle changed hands many times during the Sengoku period, among feudal lords of the San'in region such as Amago, Ouchi, and Mori. When Mr. Tadashi was given 240,000 koku in Oki and Izumo, it became the property of Mr. Horio. Mr. Tadashi Horio originally entered Gassan-Tomida Castle, but since this castle was a mountain castle, it was not suitable for forming a castle town, so he decided to build a new castle on the site of Suetsugu Castle. This became Matsue Castle.
Matsue Castle in the Edo period
Tadashi Horio received permission from the Edo Shogunate in 1603 to begin construction of Matsue Castle with his father, Yoshiharu Kajio. There is a theory that at this time, the father and son had a divided opinion as to where to build Matsue Castle, and they could not reach a consensus until the end. In the end, the current location was chosen by Tadashi Kajio to build the castle, but in 1604, Tadashi took a break at the young age of 27. Tadauji Horio was succeeded by his eldest son Tadaharu Horio, but since he was young, his grandfather Yoshiharu Kajio became his guardian, and Matsue Castle was completed in 1611.
Furthermore, Yoshiharu Kajio passed away in June of the same year, and Tadaharu Horio also passed away in 1633 without producing any legitimate children. Therefore, Mr. Kajio became the third generation to become Kaiki. After that, Tadataka Kyogoku was transferred from the Obama domain in Wakasa Province and built the Sannomaru of Matsue Castle, completing the current Matsue Castle.
It is said that Matsue Castle at this time was given the other name ``Chidori Castle'' because it had a decoration called a plover gable. During a survey in 2016, four traces of what appeared to be holes where ``chidori gables'' were installed in the castle tower of Matsue Castle were found. This suggests that the illustration of Matsue Castle's castle tower, which has a five-fold exterior, in the Izumo Province Matsue Castle Illustrated Map, which is believed to have been drawn between 1644 and 1648, may not have been an exaggeration. Furthermore, the current castle tower of Matsue Castle is four-tiered and has a ``pillar gable'' instead of a houndstooth gable. There is a record that the castle tower of Matsue Castle underwent major renovations between 1738 and 1743, and at that time, the shape of the castle tower was significantly different from when it was built. There is a possibility.
Tadataka Kyogoku, who was transferred to the province, also had no heirs, so when he died of illness in 1637, the Kyogoku family became extinct. Later, in 1638, Naomasa Matsudaira was transferred from the Matsumoto domain of Shinano Province, and the Matsudaira family continued to rule the Matsue domain until the Meiji Restoration.
Matsue Castle after the Meiji era
When feudal domains and prefectures were abolished in 1871, Matsue Castle was abandoned and all the buildings were sold to the private sector for 4 to 5 yen at the time. The castle tower was also scheduled to be sold for 180 yen, but when wealthy farmer Motoemon Katsube and former samurai Gonpachi Takagi donated the same amount to the government, the castle tower was actually purchased and the castle tower was decided to be preserved. Later, in 1889, the then prefectural governor Yasushi Kagoteda organized the Matsue Castle Castle Landscape Maintenance Association, and the castle tower began to be protected throughout the prefecture.
In 1927, the Matsudaira family, which owns the land on which the castle tower stands, donated the land along with the castle tower to the prefecture, and it was opened to the public as a park.
In 1935, it was designated as a national treasure (currently an important cultural property) based on the National Treasure Preservation Law of the time. The castle tower was temporarily designated as an important cultural property due to the enactment of the Cultural Properties Protection Law in 1950, but in 2015, when the castle tower was completed, the After the "prayer tag" was rediscovered, it was once again designated as a national treasure.
After that, Matsue Castle reached the end of the Pacific War without being attacked by air raids, and in 1950, major repairs were carried out on the castle tower, and in 1960, Honmaru Ichinomon and Minami Tamon were completed. section has been restored. In the Heisei period, buildings that had been demolished in the Meiji period were restored one after another, including the Corridor Gate (Chidori Bridge), the Kitasomon Bridge at the bottom of the Ninomaru, the Ninomaru south turret and wall, the middle turret, and the Taiko turret. In 2006, it was certified as one of Japan's 100 Famous Castles.
Currently, the inside of Matsue Castle's castle tower is open to the public, and you can see every corner of it as it was during the Edo period. Also, on January 1st, a popular event is held every year where you can watch the first sunrise from the castle tower, although it is limited to 50 people. In addition, various events are held throughout the year, such as the camellia festival and the castle festival that coincides with the blooming of cherry blossoms, making it the center of Matsue tourism.

Read biographies related to Matsue Castle

Naomasa MatsudairaSuccessful stock who played an active role in Osaka no Jin
The late Muromachi period was a time of war and turmoil, also known as the Sengoku period, which was compared to the history of China. Tokugawa Ieyasu brought an end to this era. Supported by many retainers, Ieyasu established the Edo Shogunate and became a ruler of Japan. As Ieyasu's grandson, he played an active role in the Osaka Siege.
Naomasa Matsudaira

History of the Matsue Domain, whose domain office is Matsue Castle

Matsue domainRuled by the Echizen Matsudaira family
The Matsue domain was ruled by three families: the Horio family, the Kyogoku family, and the Echizen Matsudaira family. However, the Horio family and the Kyogoku family had the misfortune of becoming extinct one after another, and the Matsudaira family's rule was by no means stable. The Matsue clan
Matsue domain
Matsue Domain DATA
Domain officeMatsue Castle
old areaMatsue, Izumo Province
stone height186,000 koku
Fudai/TozamaParent clan
main lordHorio family, Kyogoku family, Matsudaira family
Estimated population300,000 people (first year of the Meiji era)

After Tadataka Kyogoku died of illness, Naomasa Matsudaira, a cousin of the shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa, entered the domain and the Matsudaira family continued to rule. Harusato, the seventh lord of the domain, is known as a great ruler who promoted reform of the domain's administration.

Matsue Castle column

Introduction column by castle enthusiasts

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