In 1585, under the orders of his older brother Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Toyotomi Hidenaga established Wakayama Castle to help rule over the Kii area. When the castle was finished, Hidenaga had made Yamato Koriyama Castle his home base and stationed Kuwayama Shigeharu here in his place.
Asano Yoshinaga was stationed at Wakayama Castle after the Battle of Sekigahara. In 1619, Tokugawa Ieyasu's 10th child Yorinobu became lord of the castle. From that point until the Meiji Restoration the castle was ruled by successive Tokugawa lords.
Even after the Meiji Restoration, the beautiful main keep was kept intact and designated a National Treasure. Unfortunately, it burned to the ground during bombings in 1945. Wakayama Castle together with Himeji Castle and Iyo-Matsuyama Castle are called the Three Great Flatland Mountain Castles.
I put off going to this castle for a long while, but after visiting I really think that most castle books don't give it justice. The amount of stone walls and baileys that remain are impressive. Even though the main keep and connected buildings are reconstructed, the complex keep style (renritsushiki) that completely encloses the main keep courtyard is one of only a few that you can see like this. The castle also has two original gates, a beautifully reconstructed covered bridge, and you can see all the different types of stone walls depending on when they were built. There is also an original bell tower yagura, the kitchen yagura from the honmaru palace and a samurai home in the town. I highly recommend you take the time to walk the grounds and enjoy this great castle.
|English Name||Wakayama Castle|
|Alternate Names||Takegaki-jo, Torafusu-jo|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||3 levels, 3 stories|
|Year Reconstructed||1958 (concrete)|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Wakayama Station (Nankai Line, JR Hanwa Line); 15 min bus to Koenmae bus stop, or walk 20 mins|
|Visitor Information||400 yen; open 9-5:30pm; closed 12/29-12/31|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 13' 39", 135° 10' 17"|
|Visits||March 17, 2012|
|Added to Jcastle||2005|