Odawara Castle Profile Renewed

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Odawara Castle Profile Renewed


I've renewed the Odawara Castle profile and most notably added an album just for pictures that detail the Sogamae (outer defenses) of Odawara Castle. The Sogamae is a network of over 9km of trenches and earthworks that surrounded Odawara Castle to help defend against Hideyoshi's forces before the Siege of Odawara. There are some remnants in the city but most of them are in the mountains northwest of the castle. I strongly encourage castle fans to have a look at this album.

Another reason to re-visit this castle was to see the recently renovated castle museum. Photos for the rest of the castle have been renewed as well. I think I will need to re-visit Ishigakiyama Castle this fall to update those as well.

With this update, I've also changed how full size photos are displayed. If you click a photo in any album it should open faster. Scaling to different browser sizes should be faster too. Profiles and photos more than 5 yrs old are usually uploaded in 600px sizes which don't enlarge, but more recent photos are uploaded at 2000px and scaled to the browser size. Some contributors though have been uploading even larger photo sizes so I hope this helps the latency of viewing larger photos. This new system works better for large panorama photos too allowing you to zoom in and out for more details. If you run into any problems please let me know.


Odawara Castle / 小田原城


Odawara Castle is probably the best example of a castle to visit in the immediate Tokyo area. I also think it tends to not get as much credit as it deserves when people compare it to the likes of Nagoya Castle, Osaka Castle, Okayama Castle and some of the other large reconstructions. The Umadashi Bailey and associated gates are brilliant reconstructions of this elaborate defensive design ond a one of a kind reconstruction.

The museum has been recently renovated with great new exhibits. In particular I appreciated that they have a book of all the exhibits, not just the artifacts but the information panels and displays, which is something I always thought museums should do.

Odawara Castle is like getting two castles for the price of one. The main keep, moats and other great reconstructions of the central compound are what most people are familiar with. While this was the center of the Hojo's castle, structures of this type were not from the Hojo's time. They are Edo Period structures. The Odawara Castle of the Hojo was mostly built over by a new Edo Period castle, but the outer ring of defenses, called the Sogamae, were mostly abandoned after the Siege of Odawara. These classic examples of Hojo type earthworks in the mountains surrounding the city are well preserved in many places today. Here is a good map of the castle and sogamae ruins. Despite visiting twice in the autumn of 2019, I still didn't make it around to all the remnants of this great castle.

The castle is still undergoing study and they are constantly improving the site. Recent efforts have focused on the Sogamae developing parks at the Shinbori Dorui and Hachimanyama East Bailey. Current studies are closer to the inner compounds looking at the Goyomai Bailey. Gardens, stone paths and shojibori moats have been uncovered around this bailey. I really hope they are developed for castles fans to enjoy.

Odawara also provides some apps to help increase your enjoyment of your trip to Odawara.

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