Suwa Ohhouri Yakata

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Suwa-Ôhōri-yakata was the residence of the high priest, the Ôhōri, of Suwa Shrine up until the end of the Edo period. The yakata was referred to by many names, including Gōdono ('God Hall' (神殿)), implying a sacred place rather than just a regular residence. The yakata was first constructed at its present site in the latter part of the 16th century when the priests still acted in dual part as feudal lords. The vast mansion was surrounded by moats, forming a veritable fortress in a quarter circle shape. In the Edo period the priests' political power was severely restricted as the Suwa Domain daimyō ruled from Takahima Castle. Following the Meiji Restoration, the position of Ôhōri was abolished, the priests lost their heridetary status, and their property was confiscated and sold off. The mansion's grounds were sold and developed over, and most of the mansion was demolished by the early Shōwa period, leaving only a tiny footprint, one twentieth of the yakata's original size, occupied by the surviving portions of the yakata today. It appears that the surviving hall was primarily used originally as offices rather than as a dwelling. The surviving buildings date to around 1830 as the original architecture was lost to fire in the late Edo period.

Visit Notes

Suwa-Ôhōri-yakata was the residence of the high priest of Suwa Shrine. The garden is open to the public to wander around, but the buildings can't be entered. There is a gate, the main house, a storehouse, fences and shrines.

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  • Akamon Gate
  • Main Residence today; formerly yakata offices (1830)

Castle Profile
English Name Suwa Ohhouri Yakata
Japanese Name 諏訪大祝館
Alternate Names 大祝諏方氏邸・旧大祝屋敷・大祝諏方家居館・神殿
Founder Suwa Clan
Year Founded 16th century
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations has Important Cultural Properties
Historical Period Edo Period
Artifacts 母屋・赤門
Features gates, palace
Visitor Information
Access Chino Station on the Chūō Line; 35 minute walk
Visitor Information Free to walk around garden; no entry to buildings
Time Required 20 minutes
Location Suwa, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 0' 1.19" N, 138° 7' 37.63" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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