Fukuyama Castle

From Jcastle.info
Revision as of 15:51, 20 August 2023 by Eric (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Fukuyama5.jpg

History

In 1619, Mizuno Katsunari, a cousin of Tokugawa Ieyasu, was the first of the Tokugawa hereditary vassals (fudai daimyo) to be stationed in the Chuugoku region. He was placed here at Fukuyama to be just between the non-hereditary vassals (tozama daimyo) in Hiroshima and Okayama. He received great support from the Tokugawa in the form of money, materials and buildings transferred from Fushimi Castle to build this rather large and strong castle (23 yagura and 10 gates) quickly. It shows the importance Tokugawa placed on showing his strength to these tozama daimyo. The castle was completed in 1622.

Fukuyama Castle was one of the greatest castles of the Edo Period and many buildings survived the Meiji Restoration, but were mostly destroyed in the air raids of 1945. Only the Fushimi Yagura and Sujigane Gate survived.


Visit Notes

Right next to the train station, it's worth your time to stop and visit on the way through. You can take the best pictures of the Fushimi yagura and Tsukimi yagura from the train platform heading towards Osaka. Plan accordingly so you have some time to take pictures from here. I didn't realize that until it was too late and had only a few minutes to get a couple pictures.


Loading map...


Gallery
  • main keep
  • fushimi yagura
  • Fushimi Yagura
  • Tsukimi Yagura
  • Sujigane Gomon gate
  • main keep
  • Shorou bell tower
  • Yudono bath house
  • Kagami yagura
  • walls
  • natsume gate ruins
  • stone walls
  • view from the top
  • map


Castle Profile
English Name Fukuyama Castle
Japanese Name 福山城
Alternate Names Hisamatsu-jo, Iyoo-jo
Founder Mizuno Katsunari
Year Founded 1622
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 5 levels, 6 stories
Year Reconstructed 1966 (concrete)
Artifacts Fushimi Yagura, Sujigane Gate
Features main keep, gates, turrets, palace, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Fukuyama Sta. (San'yo line); 2 minute walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.city.fukuyama.hiroshima.jp/fukuyamajyo/
Location Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 29' 27.71" N, 133° 21' 40.03" E
Loading map...
Admin
Added to Jcastle 2006
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2009
Admin Visits November 14, 2009
Friends of JCastle
Malcolm Fairman Photography - Fukuyama Castle


3.43
(23 votes)
Add your comment
Jcastle.info welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.


avatar

Matthew WardGunshi

4 months ago
Score 0++

I finally visited Fukuyama Castle yesterday, and it mostly exceeded my expectations, which major castles often do.

Obviously, the cluster of extant historical buildings in the southeast corner of the Honmaru is the star of the show, especially the Fushimi Yagura. I just wish they would open the interior to visitors. And the Sujigane Gate and bell tower are quite nice too. Obviously, the castle (at least, the Honmaru has some excellent ishigaki as well.

As for the reconstructions, the two concrete turrets are good visual reconstructions, although like a lot of such buildings they tend to look a bit less authentic as you get close to them. I really liked the wooden bathhouse building: that's a pretty unique feature. And the main keep is very good for a concrete reconstruction. Mostly, I appreciated the outside, especially the iron-plated side, but the basement floor with the visible original interior ishigaki and the top floor with its wooden trimming and balcony are also a cut above the average.

I also enjoyed walking around the shrines that lie on or near the former castle grounds, including the one with the Red Gate on it, another original historical structure, though it seems that it likely lay outside the castle grounds, so it's not a castle structure per se. Another great site that is on the castle grounds (but not part of the historical castle) is the Fukuju Kaikan, which has a really lovely garden and nice buildings. The kura and shrine in back of it are also nice--I actually couldn't tell where the kura were supposed to be part of the Fukuju Kaikan or the shrine, but it's nice to have more historical buildings to see on the castle grounds.

Overall, I'd give this site a 4--a high 4, with my only reservations being the fact that a lot of the former castle grounds have been covered by development, and the moats are basically all paved over or buried, so it's mostly just the Honmaru that remains. It's a near-great castle in its present form, and could probably be made into a great castle with some more reconstructions. Obviously, the main keep is going to stay concrete for the foreseeable future, seeing that it's just been renovated, but it does seem that they have photographs and other information about several of the missing turrets--a couple of accurately restored turrets in wood could elevate the site further.

One more thing: I had seen Fukuyama Castle from the Shinkansen station at least a couple of times before, but this time I got great views. If you get to the platform for the east-bound Shinkansens early (or spend some time after getting off the train from the west), you can walk along the length of the platform and get pictures of the castle from a whole bunch of different angles. They even left every 4th or 5th window open, so you can just point your camera or phone out the window. It's a really good way to get shots of the castle!
avatar

ARTShogun

9 months ago
Score 0++

Shall I add some fresh pictures or is that something the webmaster wants to pop down and do this summer? : p

There's also a big chunk of ishigaki / gate ruin under the shinkansen tracks.
avatar

EricShogun

9 months ago
Score 0++
It's scheduled for a breather in late June :)
avatar

Anonymous user #1

9 months ago
Score 0 You

This castle repays several visits at various times of day. (Times used are during springtime). The gate at the side is open from 6am but I found it was actually opened at 5:30am. The castle is great for early morning pictures and sunset pictures. Some people exercise in front of the keep in the early morning, (around 6 am onwards). The sunrise is mostly hidden by tall buildings near the castle, but the early morning colours are great giving you some nice pictures of the yagura and keep. Sunset is similar but you can actually see the sunset from the castle, so you get that very warm direct light highlighting the white and detail. After sunrise you have the magical blue hour and the castle is lit up for this. Daytime is also good for filming. Sadly the little pond surrounded by small trees opposite the castle has now gone. This was great for pictures of the tenshu framed by the pond and trees.

I suggest a walk around the outer walls first at the start and end of your visit, several good pictures to be had this way.

If taking pictures from the Shinkansen platform, if you go the end of the platform, (towards Hiroshima direction), you can get some really good side view pictures of the entire castle.

The castle has stated by ART has been renovated and it looks amazing in the new black and white colour scheme. The side of the tenshu covered in black iron plates looks fantastic.

If you are a photographer, I suggest an overnight stay to cover all the opportunities this castle will provide you. If you live in Japan, then I imagine this castle is worth a visit in winter (if snow), springtime and autumn.
avatar

ARTShogun

15 months ago
Score 0++

The tenshu (main keep) of Fukuyama Castle has been completely overhauled – renovated. It now bears a closer resemblance to the historical tower which was destroyed by air raids during the Pacific War. Unfortunately the interior is still very much a concrete-clad museum as with before, but now the exterior is more historically accurate and, in my humble opinion, beautiful. The red balcony, so common amongst reconstructed castle towers, has been repainted black. The real treasure, however, is that the north-facing side of the tower has been completely (excepting the topmost tier) clad in iron sheeting. This unique feature amongst castle towers in Japan has been near faithfully restored, and is laudable. The tower is otherwise white (stucco was used in the Edo period for castle towers, creating white towers, whereas formerly in the Sengoku period lacquer-treated wood was preferred which created black towers). Viewed from the northeast or northwest then, Fukuyama Castle’s tenshu takes on the appearance of dual faces in monochrome. The iron plating has studs arranged diagonally, giving it also a depth of texture. In some places the iron sheeting has been arranged slightly differently from the historical configuration as a safety precaution.

As well as the tenshu, Fukuyama Castle has many other interesting features, including ancillary structures and ishigaki. The castle was gutted in the Pacific War by Allied air raids. However, three buildings miraculously survived. These original structures are the Fushimi-yagura, a large turret built from recycled materials from Fushimi Castle; the bell tower, a rare specimen of a turret also used as a belfry; and the main gate, which is a yaguramon (gatehouse). Besides, several other buildings have been reconstructed, including a bathhouse which was, until its destruction in 1945, the only surviving portion of the castle’s goten (palatial residence of the castle lord).
avatar

DiegoDeManilaAshigaru

75 months ago
Score 1++

Visited 18 Nov 2016. Splendid view of the castle from the shinkansen platforms of the nearby JR station. Typical post-war concrete tenshu, but a rather handsome one nonetheless, and the smaller reconstructed structures scattered across the grounds make for an interesting walk. On a side note, the neighbouring Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of History was a real treat, both for the permanent exhibit (focused on the long-lost Kusado Sengen port town) and the temporary exhibit on show at the time (historic maps).

https://with...vember-2016/
avatar

ARTShogun

89 months ago
Score 0++

Reconstructed structures destroyed during the war: Kagami Yagura (Mirror Turret), rebuilt 1974 Shōrō (turret with bell inside), rebuilt 1979, a unique structure (for a castle) designated as a municipal level important cultural property. Yudono (bath house), rebuilt 1966.

Other structures rebuilt: Tsukimi Yagura (Moon-viewing Turret), destroyed during the Meiji Restoration, now rebuilt.
avatar

Jcastle.oldHatamoto

92 months ago
Score 0++
Lampshade, It's a pretty safe bet that most cultural attractions and museums in Japan will be closed on Monday. I made the same mistake enough times before I finally learned to either plan around going to such sites on Mondays or check in advance.
avatar

Anonymous user #1

92 months ago
Score 0++

The castle is closed on Mondays!

As a side note, Fukuyama Station didn’t seem to have too many lockers and all of them were full when I was there so if you’re carrying a bag the ‘Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of History’ next to the castle has some small size lockers (100 yen, but gives you the coin back later). Of course you need to buy a ticket to the museum first (290yen, station lockers are 300yen the small ones) but the museum is also a good visit if you’re already going to the castle.
avatar

Kiddus i2003Gunshi

106 months ago
Score 0++
Passed this a few times finally stopped to see it.
avatar

Anonymous user #1

108 months ago
Score 0++
Visited Spring 2015. Access is as easy as it gets (right next to a JR station that is a stop for the bullet train), and what you get for minimal effort is great. The grounds are clean and pleasant, the rebuilt keep provides for superior photo ops, and the museum inside (they had an exhibit of traditional swords when I was there) is worth a look. The archaeological displays for the immediate area were particularly interesting. The only real drawback was that the museum had a group of obnoxious, drunken men in it while I was there. One was even passed out in a corner. I could've done without that.
avatar

Jcastle.oldHatamoto

144 months ago
Score 0++
@furinkazan, thanks. It looks like you're having a great trip!!
avatar

FurinkazanDaimyo

144 months ago
Score 0++
I went to this castle after visiting Suigunjo on Innoshima(not present on this site, but i'll give the info to the webmaster when back home). So i came from Onnomichi and saw the castle from the train. Since i use a JR-pass i have access to the Shinkansen-tracks without further costs. I took some photos from the track to Osaka. You may slide the windows to take photos, but don't forget to close them back. The castle is very impressive from the outside as stated below. Nevertheless i went inside and the artifacts on show are certainly worth the 200 yen entrance fee. Sadly nothing is translated. For the 2 original buildings on the site i give 4 stars to this castle.
avatar

RaymondWDaimyo

151 months ago
Score 0++
Ron S. is spot on the money about how if they had moved the JR train line further back, this castle would have seemed to be like a smaller version of Himeji Castle, being quite impressive on its little solitary hill. Of course, putting some thought into make the interior better and more authentic-looking wouldn’t go astray either. I visited this castle again as part of a three-day to visit mainly a few castles in Hiroshima Prefecture early last week. This castle site looks great from the outside with two authentic structures left. I decided not to go inside the castle keep this time. Got better things to do.
avatar

RonSAshigaru

153 months ago
Score 0++
I have always felt frustrated that Fukuyama station was built smack dab in front of the main part of the castle, on top of outer walls, a gate and a now filled in moat. It might not have been so bad before the elevated shinkansen (bullet train) tracks were added, but now it is a huge obstruction. Just imagine if the station had been located some distance to the south.... Arriving passengers would be treated to an imposing panorama of the castle rising proudly above the town center.
avatar

RonSAshigaru

153 months ago
Score 0++
In response to jorthrhns post, when Japan was developing rapidly from the 1950s thru the 70's, there was a national love affair with cement as the wonder building material of the future. In the case of castle keeps (tenshu) and other historic monuments that had been destroyed during the war, it was also much cheaper, quicker and easier to use (in combination with a steel frame) than authentic traditional materials. As you know there are a good number of castle keeps that were reconstructed this way. I call them \Showa castles"because they were all built in the Showa era (1926 - 1989) and exemplify aspects of the mentality of that era. I should add that Osaka Castle's keep was the fist to be rebuilt of concrete and steel and it dates from 1928. Beginning in the 1980s when the Japanese finally started to feel like they had made it to the top economically and there was lots of yen to spare an awareness developed of the importance of reconstructing historical buildings as authentically as possible. Since then there have been some wonderful reconstructions. The keep and connected towers of Osu castle in Ehime prefecture (2004) and several major structures in Kanazawa castle (2001) are wonderful examples. To me these more recent projects are Heisei castles because they have been built in the more enlightened Heisei era (1989 to present)."
avatar

RaymondWDaimyo

169 months ago
Score 0++
Visited this castle again last weekend on the way back from Hiroshima City. It is a very impressive castle on the outside with some of the turrets and one gate still around (some original, some reconstructed.) However, the inside is just like Hiroshima Castle: bland, concrete, 1960s-like and nothing like inside a real Japanese castle. The museum is okay with a few suits of armour, weapons, some pottery, calligraphy etc. Hiroshima Castle is better because it has some English explanations and some reconstructed rooms from the Edo Period. BTW, no photography is allowed inside the castle. I went a second time to collect my castle stamp (Japan's 100 Top Castles) and to make sure that I did not go there on a bad day (see earlier comment below). Nay...I was right. Good on the outside, boring and bland inside.
avatar

RaymondWDaimyo

173 months ago
Score 0++
Some very nice photos of the Fukuyama Castle in autumn. You certainly had better lighting and conditions conducive to taking some good photos. It is a very impressive castle on the outside and certainly worth a visit if one is in the area. As I have posted in a comment below, this castle has a very concrete 1960s feel to its interior. The museum is pretty good, though. Unfortunately, I sped through it, so probably did not get as much out of it as I should.
avatar

RaymondWDaimyo

189 months ago
Score 0++

Went and sussed this castle out after going to Okayama Castle. Fukuyama Castle is just across from the JR Fukuyama Station. It takes almost an hour from Okayama Station using the local JR train.

This castle is quite impressive on the outside, but the inside definitely has a 1960s concrete construction feel to it. Contrast this with the interior of Okayama Castle (another concrete reconstruction) which is done more tastefully.

If you are in the area, this castle is definitely worth a visit.