Iba-goten is a fortified palatial site. 'Goten' were palaces used by the Shoguns during their trips to Kyōto. They were a place of security and rest. Goten means 'palace', as in those used at castles, but those used by the shogunate garrisoned troops and can be considered a type of castle reduced in size and focusing mostly on the palace. As part of the same system of checkpoints, smaller 'ochaya' were also maintained, which were like safehouses or inns. The goten system mirrored that of the system of shukuba (inn towns) and honjin (inn for daimyō) used by daimyō during their sankin-kōtai (alternate residence at Edo) trips. Ochaya (literally 'tea houses') could be considered an upgraded version of honjin for exclusive use of the shōgun and his guests, and goten were an upgraded version of ochaya. Some daimyō also maintained ochaya or equivalents if their domains were large. Elsewise they stayed at yashiki (fortified residences) owned by nushi (village magistrates). Iba-goten had the fortune to host not just shoguns, but also Emperor Gomizuo and Emperor Gosui. The sankin-kōtai system is well known to Japanese history fans, but what is much less known is the goten system wherein the early Tokugawa shoguns would make regular visits to the old imperial capital. The goten system was used in the early Edo period but was abolished by the 18th century. Later shoguns' authority was such that they could dispense with visiting the Imperial Court altogether, and it would only be the last shoguns who found themselves summoned to court thereafter.
The ruins of Iba Palace include ishigaki (stone walls). The site was extensively excavated in the mid' eighties. It is maintained as a small park but it was closed when I visited. Iba-goten is registered as a National Historic Site. The nearby temple is Daitokuji (大徳寺), which is notable in its name, perhaps suggesting some link to the Tokugawa shoguns and Iba-goten.
|English Name||Iba Palace|
|Year Founded||Early 17th century|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Access||Notogawa Station on the Biwako Line; 15 minute walk.|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; park|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Higashi-Ōmi, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 10' 23.74" N, 136° 9' 34.13" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|