Akashi CastleAkashi City, Hyogo Prefecture

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Akashi Castle DATA
Other nameKiharu Castle, Kinko Castle
castle construction1618
address1-27 Akashi Park, Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture
Access to Akashi Castle
Approximately 10 minutes walk from Akashi Station on the JR Kobe Line or Sanyo Akashi Station on the Sanyo Electric Railway Main Line.

HISTORYAkashi Castle, which also had a tree mansion created by Miyamoto Musashi

Akashi Castle is a flat castle located in Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture. It was built on the orders of the second shogun, Hidetada Tokugawa, and is also known for having a tree mansion built by Miyamoto Musashi. Let's unravel the history of Akashi Castle.

A castle built on the orders of the 2nd general army, Hidetada Tokugawa.
Akashi Castle was built in 1618 by order of the second shogun, Hidetada Tokugawa. In 1615, samurai laws were promulgated, and feudal lords were no longer able to freely build new castles. Akashi Castle can be said to be an exceptional castle that was built after the samurai laws were enacted. Originally, the land of Akashi was given to Ukon Takayama in 1585 for 60,000 koku. He built a castle on a ship and established a castle town, but because he was a devout Christian, he abandoned his territory and moved to Kaga due to the banishment order issued by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1587. After that, the land of Akashi was incorporated into the Himeji domain, and Funakami Castle became one of its branch castles, and Toshimasa Ikeda, the eighth son of Terumasa Ikeda, the first lord of the Himeji domain, became the lord of the castle. The year after Osaka Castle fell during the Battle of Osaka in 1615 and the Toyotomi family fell, the Ikeda family was transferred to the Tottori domain, and Tadamasa Ogasawara from the Shinano Matsumoto domain moved in their place. Ogasawara Tadamasa's mother was Tokuhime, the daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu's eldest son Honda Nobuyasu and Oda Nobunaga's daughter Tokuhime. In other words, Ogasawara Tadamasa had a wonderful pedigree, having Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga as his great-grandfathers on both his paternal and maternal sides.
The reason why Ogasawara Tadamasa was transferred to Akashi is said to be in preparation for the various feudal domains in the western region. In the Saigoku region, there were many Tozama daimyo who were senior vassals of Toyotomi, and the shogunate probably wanted to entrust oversight to trusted daimyo. There is a strong theory that Akashi Castle was built to monitor the Western countries. After consulting with his wife's father, Tadamasa Honda, Ogasawara Tadamasa decided to build Akashi Castle on Hitomaruyama and obtained permission from the shogunate. At the same time as the construction of the castle, construction of the castle town began, and Miyamoto Musashi created a town layout map that served as a blueprint. Miyamoto Musashi is famous as a swordsman, but he was also a gardener and architect. At that time, Miyamoto Musashi was active while interacting with Honda Tadatoki, the lord of Himeji, and he was Honda Tadamasa's eldest son. In other words, Ogasawara Tadamasa and Honda Tadatoki were also brothers-in-law. It is said that Miyamoto Musashi not only built the town, but also built a tree mansion within Akashi Castle, which served as a recreational area for the castle lord. Miyamoto Musashi also created the gardens of Honmatsuji Temple and Enjuin Temple in Akashi City.
Akashi Castle's construction began using wood from Miki Castle, Takasago Castle, Edayoshi Castle, and Funakami Castle, and in 1619, the Honmaru Palace was completed and Ogasawara Tadamasa entered the castle. The following year, in 1620, four triple turrets were completed in the main enclosure. Furthermore, when Akashi Castle was being built, the Shogunate granted it 1,000 kan of silver and dispatched a construction magistrate. There is also a record that the Tokugawa shogunate was in charge of construction of the earthworks, stone walls, moats, etc. of the Honmaru and East Maru. In other words, the castle was built under the leadership of the Shogunate. Of the four triple turrets built in the main enclosure, it is said that Tatsumi turret was relocated from Funakami Castle and Kon turret was relocated from Fushimi Castle. Kon-yagura is one of the largest three-tiered turrets in Japan, and was used as a substitute for the castle tower at Akashi Castle.
Akashi Castle in the Edo period
Akashi Castle, completed in 1620, functioned as the domain office of the Akashi clan until the end of the Edo period. However, in 1631, just 11 years after the castle was built, a fire broke out in the Sannomaru kitchen, destroying the Honmaru Palace and other parts. Tatsumi Yagura also burned down at this time and was rebuilt in later years.
The Akashi clan is housed in six houses, but since it was rebuilt after a fire, Akashi Castle did not undergo any major renovations until 1739. In return, successive castle lords devoted their efforts to improving the castle grounds, such as developing new fields and improving irrigation canals. Then, in 1874, the castle was abolished by the Castle Abolition Order.
Akashi Castle after the Meiji period
Akashi Castle was abandoned, and although the northeast turret and northwest inui turret were dismantled, Tatsumi turret and Kon turret were preserved, and the castle ruins were developed as Akashi Park. In 1901, the Honmaru and Ninomaru Honmaru earthen walls, which were severely damaged, were demolished. In addition, the tree house built by Miyamoto Musashi became an athletics stadium. In 1957, Tatsumi Yagura and Kon Yagura were designated as important cultural properties of the country. Akashi Castle suffered major damage in the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake that occurred in 1995. After that, repairs took five years until 1999, and the fence connecting Tatsumi Yagura and Kon Yagura was also restored. In 2003, Musashi's garden was maintained and opened to the public, and in 2006, it was listed as the 58th castle in Japan's 100 Famous Castles. In 2019, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the castle's construction, the turrets and walls were re-plastered and trees were cut down.
Today's Akashi Castle is a popular sightseeing spot in Akashi City and a place for residents to relax. You can enjoy cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn leaves in the fall, and a Noh performance is held every year on the Noh stage.
Akashi Castle was built in the early Edo period and is one of the few castles with a turret still in existence. Akashi Castle tour apps have also been developed, so if you use them to stroll around the park, you will deepen your understanding of the castle's history and the existing turrets and stone walls.

The history of the Akashi domain, with Akashi Castle as the domain office.

Akashi domainCreated as a deterrent to Western countries
The Akashi clan was a domain that ruled Akashi District, Harima Province, and Misukuro District, Harima Province (present-day Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture, Nishi Ward, Kobe City, Tarumi Ward, Kobe City, and Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture), with Akashi Castle as the domain office. Just as Akashi Castle was built to suppress the Western countries, the Akashi clan was built to suppress the Western countries.
Akashi domain
Akashi Clan DATA
Domain officeAkashi Castle
old areaAkashi District, Harima Province
stone height80,000 koku
Fudai/TozamaParent clan
main lordOgasawara clan, Matsudaira clan (Toda), Okubo clan, Matsudaira clan (Fujii), Honda clan, Matsudaira clan (Echizen)
Estimated population82,000 people (first year of the Meiji era)

Tadamasa Ogasawara established the domain with 100,000 koku in the former Himeji domain of the Ikeda family. After the Fudai continued, the Echizen Matsudaira family, the parent domain, entered the domain.

Japanese Castle Photo Contest.03