Hiroshima Castle 広島城
Founder Mori Terumoto
Mouri
Year 1591
Type Flatland
Condition Reconstructed
Reconstructed 1958 (concrete)
Structure 5 levels, 5 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Hiroshima Station, bus or local train
Website Hiroshima City Culture Foundation
Visited February 1996; November 23, 2014
Visitor Info. 370 yen; Open 9am-6pm except Dec - Feb closes at 5pm; Open until 7pm during Golden Week and Obon holidays; closed 12/29-12/31. Only the main keep requires admission, the park is free. | Time Required: 90 mins
Notes The main keep is typical of early concrete reconstructions, but the reconstructions around the main gate are very nicely done in wood and much more interesting. Take your time to walk around the Obikuruwa area behind the keep. There are nice views of the moats and stone walls. Despite the fact that the main areas were very crowded this day there was only one other person enjoying this quiet area of the castle.
History Hiroshima-jo was built by Mori Terumoto in 1591. Mori Terumoto was a very powerful daimyo who controlled the vast majority of the San'in and San'yo areas. Having outgrown his Yoshida-Koriyama castle he built a new castle at Hiroshima in 1599. Mori Terumoto aligned himself with the Western forces in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600). The Western forces lost and Mori's lands were confiscated. He was then appointed to govern most of what is modern day Yamaguchi prefecture.

One of Hideyoshi's former allies, Fukushima Masanori filled Terumoto's place at Hiroshima. After Fukushima was stationed in Hiroshima, it's said that he got nostalgic for his old days under Hideyoshi. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the Tokugawa. In 1617 a great flood caused much damage to Hiroshima-jo. Fukushima petitioned the Tokugawa government for permission to fix it but he never received an answer. According to Tokugawa law, all daimyo needed permission to build, rebuild or renovate any castle. The only reply Fukushima got from the Tokugawa was "under investigation" and permission never came.

Two years later he proceeded on his own and started to fix the flood damage. Fukushima was caught in a Tokugawa trap. Since he defied their laws, they took away his lands around Hiroshima and gave him a smaller, less profitable province in modern day Nagano prefecture.

Hiroshima-jo lasted through the Meiji Restoration and was named a National Treasure in 1931 only to be destroyed by the atomic bomb in WWII.

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  • Lampshade on My Page    January 04, 2017 at 11:33 PM
    Hiroshima Castle was the fifth castle I had seen from the outside, but the first I actually went inside, I must say that it’s my favourite castle in Japan (granted, I haven’t been to that many but even on future trips I think it will be hard to beat). The Ninomaru is the first building one sees as they enter the castle grounds after crossing the initial bridge, entrance was free so I made my way in and looked around there first. It was reconstructed with wood and resembles more what it would’ve looked like in the past. One of the turrets only had a large taiko drum in the middle of the room, the other side had a few tatami mats and a couple of wooden models of the castle. The hallway between the two yagura was full of photos of the reconstruction of the castle and, although all explanations were in Japanese, I still understood the general idea of how it was done. Just outside the Ninomaru there are a few lines and signs on the floor that I had no idea what they were for, after my castle visit I learned that they must have been the locations of the rooms and other buildings belonging to the castle. The water of the moat was full of koi fish and turtles, I found it ironic to see them all there considering the castle is also called ‘Carp Castle’ and some of the fish shared its brown colour. There was a very big eucalyptus before the bridge that had survived the bombing, the branches twisting and turning and falling all around it. Right before Gokoku Shrine is a bunker where the first radio broadcast out of Hiroshima fallowing the atomic bombing was made, now there are only a couple of senbazuru waterfalls and a small building hidden between trees and moss. Gokoku Shrine was great, but I’m supposed to be talking about the castle so not really relevant. The first floor explains the history behind the castle, plus it has a very interesting model of how the castle would’ve looked including all the other buildings besides the main keep. I honestly had no idea that there were so many buildings but the model showed rows and rows of tatami and rooms after rooms occupying what would probably be most of the castle grounds, if not more. They have a few architectural objects like old tiles and the like and also talk about the small town on the delta before Hiroshima. The third floor was my favourite simply because of the armours. I had seen a few samurai armours before in the Tokyo National Museum of Ueno, but there were so many people there at the time that I hardly had room to look at them properly. This time I stayed and imagined them being made in front of me, threads with such strong colours being looped together with the plates. It almost seemed more like art than a dressing for war, I still remember clearly the dark blue of one of the armours. The rest of the third and fourth floor have great displays of swords and a gun, although I think the fourth floor changes exhibits every now and then. Most people seemed to be passing the displays rather quickly, I was practically alone looking at the weapons, but the Observation Platform was full of people. I liked the bars around the fifth floor, making it feel like a cage. Since it’s a cement reconstruction the inside of the building doesn’t feel like a castle (really just an interesting museum) but when I was on the top floor and could feel the wooden walls it was easier to imagine how castle-life must’ve been. Making my way back down to the bottom I collected the castle stamp and asked a Spanish couple to take some photos of me with the castle. I took 3h15min to visit the whole castle and grounds (including Gokoku Shrine), so I set off to visit Shukkei-en before it was too late. Worth mentioning that they do samurai performances (singing, plays and sword shows) every Sunday from 13:30 to 15:00h at the Ninomaru in case any of you are interested in seeing that. On Saturdays you can also spot people dressed up as samurai walking around the castle at about the same time. Note for people using the ‘Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass’: for the discount to the castle you must also bring the little booklet that comes with the pass, else it doesn’t count.
  • snoworion on My Page    September 20, 2016 at 04:58 PM
    Visited on 4 September 2016. Castle itself was a bit disappointing but the grounds are nice.
  • Eric    March 12, 2016 at 02:56 PM
    oops, you are right, now corrected.
  • Sebun    March 05, 2016 at 04:05 PM
    Thank you for your detailed website with information about castles in Japan. I have a suggestion for the copy on this page. The previous residence for Mori Terumoto is listed as "Yamato-Koriyama Castle". However, after some searching, I believe that the correct name for his previous home is the "Yoshida-Koriyama Castle", located in present day Akitakata-shi, in northern Hiroshima prefecture. "Yamamoto-Koriyama Castle" appears to refer to a different castle in Nara Prefecture which existed and was in use around the same time period.
  • SamJapan    December 03, 2015 at 07:46 PM
    This is my favourite castle in japan
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    June 19, 2015 at 11:36 AM
    Just one corner of the original area is home to the castle, surrounded by a large moat. Found it by accident, had no idea that there was a castle in Hiroshima.
  • byrdsignal    April 15, 2015 at 05:44 AM
    Visited Spring 2003. The castle is relatively easy to get to, just a walk from the Peace Park, and it also has a bus stop. The castle itself is rebuilt, and looks very nice. The drawback is that the city has encroached upon the grounds, and that makes it a chore to get really nice photos. It would have been nice of the keep itself could have been rebuilt using traditional materials like the other structures on the grounds, but instead it's in ferro-concrete. The museum inside is a nice one and worth a visit, showing the history of the area and the castle itself, but that's what's inside a lot of rebuilt castles, so this doesn't make it stand out in any way.
  • hirom46    April 01, 2015 at 01:47 AM
    very nice Umadashi Bailey! Link is Hiroshima castle report! https://youtu.be/bzxsm2SH_u0
  • siro otoko    June 29, 2014 at 10:21 PM
    はじめまして、すばらしいsiteですね。城のプラモデル(plastic model)で広島城を作っていて、参考にさせていただきました。 海外の方に日本の城のよさを伝えていただきありがとうございました。
  • neutronsan on My Page    February 23, 2013 at 02:32 PM
    Very nice walls, grounds, and moat. It was made with concrete so not as authentic as others. Has displays inside that tells of the history of the area and the families that lived in the castle. Within walking distance of the Genbaku dome.
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 25, 2012 at 08:15 PM
    This is a beautiful castle from the outside, at least the reconstructed yagura of the ninomaru are in traditional materials and add alot to the prestige of this place. The museum in the tenshukaku is a decent one and worth a visit. I find it a bit less photogenic than Imabarijo, because of the tall buildings almost around the site.
  • bryanbaier on My Page    February 13, 2012 at 10:07 PM
    Worth going to see but it is very modern on the inside
  • Frank T. on My Page    October 08, 2011 at 11:46 PM
    Mountain and hilltop castles capture the imagination for obvious reasons. However, flatland castles require more--or at least different--engineering. Hiroshima Castle is a good example with moats, gates, bridges, baileys, and 90 degree turns.
  • a22cricket on My Page    May 16, 2011 at 06:55 PM
    Primarily a museum about the city.
  • Eric    May 10, 2011 at 10:19 PM
    yes, the keep and buildings were destroyed. The stone bases remained but I don't know how much damage they may have taken. I remember seeing some pictures of it from after the bombing at either the castle museum or memorial in Hiroshima. This picture here shows you a view from the sky and you can see that all the buildings were destroyed. http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/ops/hiroshima02.htm
  • john    May 08, 2011 at 10:19 PM
    how did the stone bases do during the immensee explosion caused by the atom bomb? i suppose the keep and everything made of wood or plaster was instantly vaporized.
  • Learoy on My Page    April 06, 2011 at 01:13 PM
    The castle was closed by teh time I got there, so was only able to see the outside during this visit.
  • Usagi on My Page    January 08, 2011 at 07:46 PM
    Old and new parts combined to make an interesting visit. Great costume and katana displays, with excellent views of Hiroshima. Easy walk from other local attractions.
  • Eric    January 02, 2011 at 10:11 PM
    Kris, which browser are you using? I'm having some problems with different versions of IE.
  • Kris    December 31, 2010 at 09:22 PM
    One thing - the mouseover text for the kamon is white on white.
  • Eric    December 28, 2010 at 01:04 PM
    Thanks Kris. I'll update the link soon. It's quite difficult to keep these external links updated. Thanks also for the comments on the new design. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Actually this was accidentally pushed into production before I was ready so I'm still working out some bugs. I'll post an announcement when ready.
  • Kris    December 28, 2010 at 01:34 AM
    Hi, I just noticed too that the above link is broken. Try http://www.rijo-castle.jp/rijo/main.html and scroll down to the 'English' or other languages button. For other information on Hiroshima try the official city website - http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/toppage/0000000000000/APM03000.html (click top right corner for English). Also, I just wanted to say, the new site design looks very stylish.
  • Anonymous    December 15, 2010 at 07:12 PM
    Hey! We are studying WWII+I in class, and the Hiroshima bomb is really depressing. I'm writing an essay on Hiroshima and Miyajima. We got to meet a survivor. Her account left me speechless. Any help on good reliable sources so I'm not spewing lies. This one is good.
  • Kris on My Page    November 14, 2010 at 11:48 PM
    Hiroshima castle is photogenic and the park grounds are interesting. At one point there is a stand of eucalypts that survived the A-Bomb blast overhanging the moat – my photos looked bizarrely like it was somewhere in Australia. I didn't get to go inside because it was closed. At night it is lit up and the views across the moat are beautiful.
  • Admin    June 02, 2010 at 09:19 PM
    Thanks. I'll contact you offline. Thanks also for the notification about my form. It seems that the web host has disabled that service. I need to work on an alternative.
  • Anonymous    April 03, 2010 at 11:19 PM
    Great. just great. it's bad enough the americans destroyed an entire city witth the atomic bomb, but a CASTLE?
  • Raymond W    March 18, 2010 at 09:32 PM
    If you are in Hiroshima to see the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Park, do make time for this castle. It is quite traditional looking on the outside, but it has not been reconstructed properly. Inside is all concrete, and the original castle keep was a multi-towered one with two smaller attached towers, which have not been reconstructed since they were destroyed in WWII. The museum inside is surprisingly good with lots of details about the history of Hiroshima City and the castle. As there are lots of tourists to Hiroshima, it is one of the few castles in Japan with videos in English and lots of signs and explanations in English. This is a huge plus for visiting this castle. There are pamphlets in a few foreign languages including English. For an extra 100yen, you can get a 14 page A-4 size booklet in English that tells you more about Hiroshima Castle. If you do visit Hiroshima Castle, make sure you pop inside the Hira Yagura, Tamon Yagura, and Taiko Yagura in the 2nd Bailey. They have been reconstructed using wood and other traditional materials. Entry into these turrets is free, but you do have to take off your shoes unlike in the main castle keep.
  • Julian (from Canada)    October 23, 2009 at 09:31 AM
    It looks beautiful, and quite different from most Japanese castles with the wood on the outside. I can't believe I walked so close to it without even knowing it was there. ...oh well, someday.
  • Anonymous    October 15, 2008 at 12:06 PM
    Inside the reconstructed Tenshu is a museum. None of the original buildings survive, though Omotegomon gate was reconstructed recently out of wood. One point of interest is the bunker that is located on the grounds, from which the first radio broadcast out of Hiroshima fallowing the Atomic bombing was made.
  • Anonymous    October 15, 2008 at 11:58 AM
    very nice i like
  • MM    March 17, 2008 at 03:15 AM
    Inside the reconstructed Tenshu is a museum. None of the original buildings survive, though Omotegomon gate was reconstructed recently out of wood. One point of interest is the bunker that is located on the grounds, from which the first radio broadcast out of Hiroshima fallowing the Atomic bombing was made.
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Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture
Hiroshima Castle views
Main Keep Ninomaru Omote Gate
Ninomaru Omote Gate Back side of the Ninomaru Omote Gomon Gate.
Damon Yagura and Taiko Yagura Inside the Hirayagura, connected to the Ninomaru Omote Gate.
Bridge and Sannomaru Bailey Inside the Ninomaru Omote Gate
Tamon Yagura Taiko Yagura
Naka Gomon Gate Earthen bridge to the Honmaru
View from the main keep Honmaru stone walls
Main keep Foundation of the East Connected Keep
Original foundation stones Main keep
Stone walls with mushabashiri Stone walls with mushabashiri
Stone walls of the Honmaru bailey Honmaru Stone walls
Obikuruwa bailey Honmaru and Obikuruwa bailey stone walls
Obikuruwa and stone walls Main keep and Obikuruwa bailey
Obikuruwa and stone walls Stone walls of the Ura Gomon Gate
Ura Gomon Gate Main keep and uchibori moat
Main keep and uchibori moat Main keep and uchibori moat
Outer moat stone wall Map