Takashima Castle

Suwa City, located in the center of Nagano Prefecture, is a town where you can enjoy nature and history with attractive attractions such as Lake Suwa, Kamisuwa Onsen, and Takashima Castle. The townscape, including Takashima Castle, which was once known as Mizuki, is perfect for a stroll, with remnants of the castle town of the Takashima clan from the Edo period. You can also enjoy sports at Lake Suwa. In August, the Suwako Festival Lake Fireworks Festival is held, and the lake is decorated with fireworks. In Suwa City, I went to Takashima Castle with actress Nobue Ikeya. The trigger was this post on X (formerly Twitter).

I saw this post and made an offer to Nobue Ikeya, and she accepted. This time, while fulfilling Mr. Ikeya's wish to see fireworks, we asked Yuki Shimizu, a celebrity who loves castles, to introduce us to Takashima Castle.

Nobue Ikeya (actress)

actressNobue Ikeya

- Takashima Castle was built by Hineno Takayoshi, who served as a vassal of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and was built by his son Yoshiaki and two generations. After Yoshiaki was transferred to the Mibu Domain in Shimotsuke Province, the Suwa clan moved in and became the lord of the castle, which lasted for ten generations. Although the current scale of Takashima Castle is quite small, it is said that in the past there was water from Lake Suwa nearby, and there was a pier from which ships were launched.
There was a dock at the castle!
-The castle looked like it was floating on Lake Suwa, so it was called ``Mizuki''. Furthermore, the stone walls at the time of the castle's construction had the appearance of open fields, which is said to be due to good drainage. Wood was placed under the stone wall to make it resistant to water.
Are castles near waterfront rare? I have the impression that a castle is a little elevated place...
Takashima Castle 1Takashima Castle 2Takashima Castle 3Takashima Castle 4
- Takashima Castle is a flat castle, so there isn't much of a difference in elevation.A castle in the mountains is a mountain castle, for example, Takeda Castle in Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture is called the castle in the sky and is famous for its sea of clouds. You can
I see...Takashima Castle is like that, but what is the exciting point?
-This is the first gate we passed through when we visited the castle. In order to erect the gate, the stone wall continued all the way to the water moat, and the wooden blocks there were really cool. The wooden blocks make the building strong and less likely to fall over in an earthquake. I think this is where I am working the most.
By the way, Kanbokumon refers to a gate without a roof like a torii, but the gate of Takashima Castle was a two-story tower gate, right? Drawings from the time show that it was a covered gate called Romon or Komamon, and it is also a rare gate whose only name, Kanmokumon, remains.
Takashima Castle is said to have been much larger in the past, but now it's a little smaller. Why…?
-There are only 12 castle towers in Japan, and the others are restored castle towers. Restoring large items is expensive and difficult to maintain. They are sometimes reproduced as symbols for tourism, so even children often recognize them as ``THE castle.''
I see. If you have an old map of Takashima Castle, I would love to take a look at it and compare it! I'm interested.
- Mr. Ikeya, is there anything that sticks out in your memory after visiting Takashima Castle?
The color of the castle is interesting. It has a moss green roof and pale orange board walls. The image of the castle was based on black and white, so I'm curious as to why the colors were chosen that way.
- Takashima Castle is a reproduction of the castle tower, but it is unique. I'd be excited if there was a wooden block on the site already (lol).
In the case of castle ruins, there may be only a few stones left on vacant land.
-When people go to a castle, some people become interested in things other than the castle tower. In addition to stone walls, some people also like moats and turrets. By the way, the place where we had tea at Takashima Castle is also a turret called ``Kakuyagura''.
I might like turrets! The view from the corner turret was so beautiful and relaxing that I wanted to live here. I thought that in the past, people probably didn't have the status to enter the castle tower, but rather were the ones who guarded the turret (lol), but you don't really get to enter the turret.
-It depends on the location. A turret originally served as a small armory, but the number and size vary depending on the castle. For example, after the castle tower of Edo Castle was destroyed in the Great Fire of Meireki, Fujimi Yagura was used in its place. You can enter Fujimi Yagura for a limited time, but it was quite large.
Takashima Castle 5Interview sceneuseless resistance
- Changing the topic, Mr. Ikeya, what did you think of Suwa town after traveling this time?
It's a town with Lake Suwa in its center, and I think that's where it has its identity. It's a town where Deep Point might be located, and it looks like it might be fun.
There are so many bars in town, and the fact that they are always in operation means that locals come to drink and connect, and I think this is a town where there is communication.
-What is your impression of Suwa as a tourist destination?
It feels like a hot spring town. I would like to take a bath in the 1,000-person bath at Katakurakan. I also went on a sightseeing boat on Lake Suwa, which was really nice.
-You also ate Shinshu soba.
The soba noodles were delicious. Everyone who visited the fireworks festival was eating soba noodles. Also, miso in Shinshu is delicious. This time I also visited a miso brewery, and I thought it was absolutely delicious and I wanted to try some miso.
- Did you learn more about Takashima Castle?
I have become attached to Takashima Castle. I was especially excited when I talked to Mr. Shimizu like this because he answered any questions I had. If you research it yourself, it will be endless, and even if you read the explanation version, if you are not interested in history, you will end up thinking, ``Huh?''. It's different when you understand the exciting points and coolness.
Next time I bring someone here, I would like to show them around here.
-Finally, there is an announcement from Mr. Ikeya.
In November, I will be appearing in the play ``Wasteful Resistance'' at the Setagaya Public Theater. This is a work by Tomohiro Maekawa, head of the theater company Ikiume. Although rehearsals have not yet begun, Ikiume is a theater company that is attracting attention, and they are creating works that touch the subconscious and pierce deep. Although this is a produced performance, all members of the theater company will be present. I think it will definitely be interesting, so please come!

[Click here for performance information]

"Useless resistance"
Venue: Setagaya Public Theater
Performance schedule: 2023/11/11 (Sat) - 2023/11/26 (Sun)

Now, this trip will be sightseeing at Takashima Castle and Lake Suwa. The beginning, the beginning.