Ako CastleAko City, Hyogo Prefecture

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Ako Castle DATA
Other nameKariya Castle
castle construction1648
address1424-1 Kamikariya, Ako City, Hyogo Prefecture
Access to Ako Castle
About 20 minutes walk from Banshu Ako Station on the JR Ako Line.

HISTORYAko Castle is now famous as a filming location.

Ako Castle is a flat castle located in Ako City, Hyogo Prefecture. It was also the domain office of the Ako domain, famous for the Chushingura. Most of the castle buildings were demolished during the Meiji period, but now Sannomaru Otemon and other parts have been restored, and the Honmaru Garden and Ninomaru Garden have been designated as scenic spots. It is also often used as a filming location for historical dramas. Let's unravel the history of Ako Castle.

The era of Kakiage Castle
The predecessor of Ako Castle is said to be Kakiage Castle, which was built by Nagamasa Ikeda in 1600. Its existence has been revealed through leftover drawings and excavations, but it appears to have been a simple castle for the time period. Naganao Asano, who became the lord of the Ako domain in 1645, applied to the shogunate for the construction of a castle in 1648, and construction began in the same year. At this time, Tokugawa Iemitsu was already the shogun, and 33 years had passed since the end of the Osaka Campaign. Ako Castle is a rare example of a castle being proposed and approved during such a period.
From the construction of Ako Castle to the end of the Edo period
Ako Castle is a modified contour type. It is a combination of two shapes: the ``contour style'' where the second circle surrounds the main enclosure, and the ``kekaku style'' where the third circle on the north side is attached to the north side of the second circle. This was designed with gun warfare in mind, and many ``Yokoya-kari'' and ``Yokoya-Masugata'' structures, which can fire crossfire, are also used. Masazumi Kondo, a Koshu-ryu military scholar who served the Asano family, considered Ako Castle as his territory, and military scholar Motoyuki Yamaga assisted him in his work. In fact, there is evidence that they changed their territory on the advice of Motoyuki Yamaga, and excavations have uncovered remains that may indicate this.
Although the current Ako Castle appears to be located inland, when it was built it was very close to the coastline, so it was a ``coastal flat castle'' overlooking the sea. Ako Castle was completed in 1661, 13 years after its construction. A castle tower was built, but the castle tower was not built. It is said that this was done because practicality was given priority, and at the time, just having a castle tower was enough to maintain the formality of the house. From then on, Ako Castle continued to function as the domain office of the Ako domain until the Meiji period.
There is a water supply facility in the facility where Ako Castle is located. Because Ako Castle was built on the coast, it was at a low altitude of 1 meter above sea level, and the water in the moat and wells was mixed with seawater and was not suitable for drinking. Therefore, the Ikeda family, who ruled Ako for the first time, constructed Iseki and a canal upstream of the Kumami River (present-day Chikusa River) and laid a water supply system. The water supply system was such that water could be supplied not only to the castle grounds but also to homes in the castle town. It is said that construction began in 1614 and took two years to complete. This waterworks is said to be one of the three major waterworks in Japan, and its remains have been maintained and preserved through excavations and have become a tourist spot.
Ako Castle after the Meiji period
In the Meiji era, Ako Castle was abandoned, the buildings were demolished except for some stone walls and moats, and the site was sold to the private sector. An elementary school and an old junior high school were built on the site of the main enclosure, and after the war, Hyogo Prefectural Ako High School was built there until 1981.
In 1955, Otesumi Yagura and Otemon (Komamon) were restored based on existing photographs. In 1971, the Ako Castle ruins were designated as a national historic site, and work began on restoring the other gates and gardens. Restoration of Ninomaru Garden, which began in 1995, is still progressing in stages. The garden has been designated as a national scenic spot and is a representative tourist attraction in Ako.
In addition, the current Ako Castle is also used as a filming location for dramas and movies. Since the Ako domain was the setting for the famous Chushingura, there are many dramas related to Chushingura, but in recent years it has also been used for filming such as ``Cho Kosoku! Sankin Kotai'' (including Returns).
The castle walls of Ako Castle were completely demolished during the Meiji period, but the gates, turrets, gardens, etc. are currently being restored. Since 2006, an event called "Light Up" has been held in which the imaginary castle tower is lit up. In addition, the ruins of Yoshio Oishi's home, a central figure in the Chushingura, are preserved in Ako City, and it has become a tourist attraction along with Ako Castle.

Read about incidents related to Ako Castle

Ako incidentThe revenge incident of the 47 Ako warriors that became the basis for the Chushingura
Chushingura is a TV drama that is popular during the year-end and New Year holidays. The story of the 47 warriors, including Kuranosuke Oishi, who rose to avenge their master's regrets, has been made into not only television, but also movies, novels, kabuki, and plays. Such “Chushingura”
Ako incident

History of the Ako domain, with Ako Castle as the domain office

Ako domainThere were frequent disturbances
The Ako Domain was a domain that ruled Ako County, Harima Province, which is today Ako City, Aioi City, and Kamigori Town, Hyogo Prefecture. Speaking of Ako Domain, it is the domain that was the setting for the famous TV drama and movie "Chushingura," but other than that, Ako Domain was also known for its turmoil caused by the feudal lord and senior retainers.
Ako domain
Akohan DATA
Domain officeAko Castle
old areaAko District, Harima Province
stone height20,000 koku
main lordMr. Ikeda, Mr. Asano, Mr. Nagai, and Mr. Mori

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