3-Must- See the castles in Hokuriku
Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama, and Niigata prefectures of the Hokuriku region have many castles that have been preserved as cultural assets. As sightseeing spots and parks, these places have been blended with the locals’ life. Here, we introduce you to must-visit famous castles when you travel the Hokuriku region.
Maruoka Castle—standing on a slightly high hill, its Main Keep is the only surviving one in the Hokuriku region (Sakai, Fukui Prefecture)
The castle’s keep is a two-tiered, three-story stand-alone “Boro-gata” (lookout tower type). This keep was built in 1576 by Shibata Katsutoyo, a nephew of Shibata Katsuie, who was Oda Nobunaga’s retainer. It is Japan’s oldest surviving original main keep, with its old style of black wooden walls and linear roof. The castle’s alternate name is “Kasumiga-jo Castle.” It is certified as Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites, as 400 Yoshino cherry trees blossom beautifully and decorate the old castle every spring.
●0776-66-0303 (Kasumiga-jo Park Office)
●8:30-17:00 (last admission 16:30)
●Admission: adults 300 yen, elementary and middle school children 150 yen (*starting April, the letter museum “Ippitsu Keijo Nihonichi Mijikai Tegami no Yakata” and Maruoka Castle will have a common admission ticket)
Shibata Castle—its unique turret was restored with 3 Shachihoko on top (Shibata, Niigata Prefecture)
It is Niigata’s only castle with surviving architecture. The beautifully close-set stones of the stone walls are quite admirable. The surviving Honmaru Omote (main) Gate and original Ninomaru Sumi Yagura are Important Cultural Property. In 2004, following an old photo, the characteristically structured 3-story turret with 3 Shachihoko (mystical fish) on its T-shaped roof was reconstructed using a traditional construction method. During “Shibata Spring Festival” (about 2 weeks from around April 10), the nighttime illumination is a must-see.
●0254-22-9534 (Shibata-shi Board of Education lifelong learning section)
●Late March to November (may change depending on snow falls)
●9:00-17:00 (gates close at 16:30 in November)
●Admission free (3-story turret is closed)
Kanazawa Castle—currently under restoration, the castle of a feudal lord, a fief of Kaga, yielding one million koku of rice (*) (Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture)
The castle is Kanazawa’s sightseeing spot along with Kenroku-en Garden. Although its main keep no longer exists, there are national Important Cultural Property such as Ishikawa-mon Gate and Sanjikken Nagaya (an explosives warehouse). There are also architectures that were restored such as Hishi Yagura, Gojukken Nagaya (a storage for weapons and tools), and Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura. Another characteristic constructions are stone walls that were piled up in various ways by using a special masonry method, called “the museum of stone walls,” and Namako walls that have hidden gun crenels.
*) koku: A unit of volume. 1 koku=equivalent to 180 liters
●076-234-3800 (Kanazawa Castle Park & Kenroku-en Garden Management Office)
●7:00-18:00 (October 16 thru the end of February 8:00-17:00)
*Hishi Yagura, Gojukken Nagaya, Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura, and Hashizume-mon are open 9:00-16:30, last admission 16:00
●Admission: Adults 310 yen, 6-17 years olds 100 yen
*The above information was last updated February 3, 2017. For further details, please contact the facilities directly.
"Like" if you think this article is interesting