Mizoguchi Nobunao built Shimizudani Palace as a palatial annex (located outside of Shibata Castle) and residence in 1666. Its garden was designed by Sochi Agata, a master of Sadō (tea ceremony) of the Enshu school, in 1700, commissioned by Mizoguchi Shigekatsu. Shibata-han (Domain) was worth 100,000 koku so its lord could afford such a sumptuous residence.
In 1868, first year of Japan’s modern era, Shogunate loyalists rebelled against the new Meiji government, starting the Boshin War. Shibata-han’s then lord, Mizoguchi Naomasa, intended to join the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei (a loyalist alliance) against the government, but there was popular opposition to fighting Imperial forces, and protestors blockaded Shimizudani Palace to make sure Naomasa didn’t leave it. Thus Shibata-han did not join the rebellion, which from the people’s view was great because all their stuff didn’t get destroyed. The local lords however did have to eventually step down following the abolition of the feudal Han System in 1871.
There is a storehouse at the residence which is now a museum. The garden lake is surrounded by many quaint teahouses.
|Shimizudani Palace Profile|
|English Name||Shimizudani Palace|
|Japanese Name||Shimizudani Go'ten (清水園・清水谷御殿)|
|Designations||National Historic Site|
|Features||Gates, Garden, House, Warehouses|
|Location||Shibata, Niigata Prefecture|
|Coordinates||37° 56' 35.38" N, 139° 19' 41.41" E|
|Shibata Castle and nearby Samurai Homes|