Matsumae CastleMatsumae District, Hokkaido

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Matsumae Castle DATA
Other nameFukuyama Castle
castle construction1855
address144 Matsushiro, Matsumae-cho, Matsumae-gun, Hokkaido
telephone number0139-42-2216
Opening hours9am to 5pm
closing dayDecember 11th - April 9th
Admission feeAdults 360 yen, children 240 yen

Matsumae Castle is the last Japanese-style castle, completed in 1988.

Access to Matsumae Castle
From Kikonai Station on the Hokkaido Shinkansen or Donan Isaribi Railway Line, get off at Hakodate Bus ``Matsushiro'' and walk for about 10 minutes.

HISTORYMatsumae Castle, the only castle in Hokkaido built at the end of the Edo period

Matsumae Castle is a flat castle built in Matsushiro, Matsumae Town, Hokkaido. The official name is Fukuyama Castle, but to avoid confusion with Bizen Fukuyama Castle, it was commonly called ``Matsumae Castle'' from the time it was built.
It is the only Japanese-style castle in Hokkaido, built in 1855. Let's unravel the history of Matsumae Castle.

A castle built at the end of the Edo period
Matsumae Castle is a castle that the Edo Shogunate ordered the Matsumae clan to build in order to strengthen its coastal defenses. Because the Matsumae domain did not produce rice within its territory, although it was called a ``han,'' it was not ranked as a daimyo and was placed at the bottom of the feudal lord hierarchy. However, in 1821, when the shogunate regained control of the entire Ezo area, Matsumae Castle was built as an expansion of Fukuyamakan, which had been the castle until then, and the castle became a castle. He became a famous daimyō. Construction of the castle began in 1849 and was completed in 1855. It is the only Japanese-style castle in Hokkaido, built at the end of the Edo period, along with Ishida Castle in Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
Hakodate War and Matsumae Castle
Matsumae Castle was also the scene of the Hakodate War, which occurred from the first year of the Meiji era (1868) to the second year of the Meiji era (1869). The Hakodate War, also known as the ``Battle of Goryokaku'' or ``Kimi no Eki,'' was the last battle between the old and new shogunate forces. At this time, one of the generals who led the former Shogunate army was Toshizo Hijikata. Even before the outbreak of the Boshin War, the Matsumae clan had continued to take advantage of opportunism, such as joining the Ou-etsu clan alliance while expressing their intention to obey the new government, but due to a coup d'état by the Justice Corps, an anti-royal faction, the Matsumae clan officially became part of the new government's army. I declare that I am on your side. For this reason, Toshizo Hijikata led a total of 700 soldiers, including the Shogi-tai, Nakahe-tai, and Shoboku-tai of the former shogunate army, and marched to Matsumae Castle. At this time, the lord of the domain, Norihiro Matsumae, had moved to Tate Castle inland, and there were only a few soldiers at Matsumae Castle. They set fire to the enemy and fled towards Esashi. However, the Hakodate War ended in victory for the new government, and Toshizo Hijikata lost his life at Goryokaku.
Matsumae Castle after the Meiji Restoration
Matsumae Castle, which was built at the end of the Edo period and became the site of a war, was dismantled and its valuable parts such as copper tiles were dismantled and sold in 1871 in order to maintain the vassal's stipend. Furthermore, in 1873, in response to a fishermen's uprising against fisheries tax revisions, it was decided to demolish Matsumae Castle to prevent a revolt by former feudal retainers. At this time, the copper plates from the castle tower were repurposed for the roof of the Sapporo Development Mission's main government building. An attempt was made to use the Honmaru Palace building as the Fukuyama branch office, but the plan was abandoned due to its deterioration, and in the following year, 1874, the castle tower, the Honmaru Omote Palace, and the area other than the Honmaru Gate were left behind, and the rest of the buildings were renovated. Start demolition. Additionally, the stone walls were removed and the moat was filled in to create a vacant lot. The waste materials produced at this time were reused as construction materials for public buildings such as government offices, or sold to the private sector. Matsumae Wharf was built by reusing the stone walls of Matsumae Castle. Matsumae Wharf was used as a dock until the current Matsumae Port was developed, and in 2014 it was recognized by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers as a ``Civil Engineering Heritage Site Recommended by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers.''
In 1935, the castle ruins were designated as a national historic site, and the following year, the castle tower, Honmaru Gomon, and Honmaru Gomon east wall were designated as national treasures based on the old National Treasure Preservation Act. Even so, records show that the castle tower was severely damaged due to deterioration over time, and by the end of the Pacific War in 1945, the white walls had collapsed and it was reduced to a skeleton. In 1949, just as the funds were finally raised and repairs to the castle tower were about to begin, a fire broke out and most of the existing buildings, including the castle tower except for the main gate, were destroyed. did.
In 1956, Takashi Matsumoto, the mayor of the town at the time, formed the Matsumae Castle Reconstruction Committee and started collecting funds, and Matsumae Castle reconstruction work began in 1958. . The reinforced concrete structure of Matsumae Castle was restored in 1960. The interior is used as a museum, and the exterior has been recreated as much as possible to its appearance before the fire. Furthermore, as the currently rebuilt Matsumae Castle has become extremely dilapidated, a wooden restoration plan has been launched from 2018 (Heisei 30) with the aim of completion in Reiwa 17 (2035).
after that
Currently, the Honmaru Palace has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property, and the Honmaru Omote Palace Entrance has been designated as a Tangible Cultural Property of Hokkaido, and many people visit Matsumae as a tourist destination. In particular, the Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival, held every May, is a huge success, attracting 200,000 people.

Read about incidents related to Matsumae Castle

cultural invasionEdo period, Russian attack on Sakhalin and Etorofu
In the late Edo period, a diplomatic mission from Russia visited Japan, which was isolated from the rest of the world. The purpose was to negotiate trade between Japan and Russia, but the Edo Shogunate refused. Nikolai Rezanov, a diplomatic envoy who was angered by the Shogunate's stubborn and rude attitude, asked his subordinate Khvost to
cultural invasion
Battle of ShakshainBattle between the Matsumae clan and the Ainu
During the Edo period, Ainu people lived in most of Ezo (present-day Hokkaido, Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, etc.), but the Matsumae Domain established by the Edo Shogunate gradually strengthened its control over the Ainu, and the conflict between the Ainu and the Shogunate deepened.
Battle of Shakshain

History of the Matsumae clan, with Matsumae Castle as its domain office

Matsumae domainSupported the country through trade with the Ainu and forestry
Matsumae Domain was a domain located in Matsumae Town, Matsumae District, Hokkaido. The Matsumae clan has been the lord of the domain since before the Edo period, and it is an unusual land that was repeatedly controlled by the Matsumae clan and under the direct control of the shogunate until the Meiji Restoration. In addition, since rice cultivation was not possible, the domain's finances were dependent on the Ainu.
Matsumae domain
Matsumae Domain DATA
Domain officeMatsumae Castle
old areaEzo
stone height30,000 koku
main lordMr. Matsumae

Yoshihiro Kakizaki, who was granted exclusive rights to trade with the Ainu, changed his surname to Matsumae and remained in the province. Since then, it has continued for 15 generations.

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