Uwajima Castle

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Uwajima15.jpg

History

Todo Takatora built this castle after being granted the small fiefdom around it by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1595. After the battle of Sekigahara (1600), Todo Takatora moved to Imabari leaving it in the hands of Tomita Nobutaka. From 1615 until the Meiji Restoration Uwajima Castle was ruled by Date Hidemune and his descendents. The basic territory and layout of the castle did not change from the time of Takatora, but the Date completed the fortifications with yagura, gates and stone walls.


Visit Notes

This castle far exceeded my expectations. You tend to see mostly pictures of the main keep and there is not much around it, but I was really impressed by all the stonework here. Once the Daiemon Bailey restoration is complete this castle will be even more impressive. Nearby there is also a Date Museum, but I was not very impressed with it. There were not so many castle related artifacts.
宇和島城は私の期待をかなり超えました。天守の写真はよくありますが、天守の周りはあまり何もないように見えてしまいます。でも自分で行ってみると石垣に結構感動しました。代右衛門丸の修理と工事が終わったらなおさら必見です。近くには立博物館もありますが、お城関連の展示が少なくてちょっと残念でした。


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Gallery
  • Main keep
  • Koori Residence Nagayamon Gate
  • Path through the Sannomaru Bailey
  • Road up through the Sannomaru Bailey
  • Sannomaru Stone Walls
  • Idomaru Stone gate ruins and stone walls
  • Idomaru Bailey stone walls
  • Idomaru Bailey stone walls
  • Idomaru Bailey stone walls
  • main keep
  • Honmaru Obikuruwa Bailey
  • Stone walls and stairs to the Ninomaru
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • Kushigatamon Gate to the Honmaru Bailey
  • Main keep
  • Main keep.
  • Roof tiles of the main keep
  • Roof tiles of the main keep
  • Inside the main keep
  • Inside the main keep
  • Inside the main keep
  • Kushigatamon Gate and Ninomaru.
  • Sannomon Gate ruins
  • Kaminarimon Gate
  • Road to the Kaminarimon gate
  • Toube Bailey
  • Nagaymon Gate
  • Stone walls of the Toube Bailey
  • Yamazato Warehouse.
  • Inside the Yamazato Warehouse
  • View of the Honmaru and Ninomaru
  • Stone walls of the Nagato Bailey
  • Stone walls of the Nagato Bailey
  • Stone walls of the Nagato Bailey
  • Stone walls of the Nagato Bailey
  • Daiemon Bailey Stone Walls
  • Daiemon Bailey Stone Walls
  • Daiemon Bailey Stone Walls
  • Daiemon Bailey Stone Walls
  • Shikibu Bailey stone walls
  • Shikibu Bailey stone walls
  • Noboritachimon Gate
  • Noboritachimon Gate
  • Noboritachimon Gate
  • Old map of the castle area
  • Castle grounds


Castle Profile
English Name Uwajima Castle
Japanese Name 宇和島城
Alternate Names Tsurushima-jo
Founder Todo Takatora
Year Founded 1596
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Original main keep
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 3 levels, 3 stories
Artifacts tenshu
Features main keep, gates, turrets, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Uwajima Sta. (Yosan Line), 10 minutes walk.
Visitor Information Park opens 6am-6:30pm. The museum and main keep are open 9am-4pm. The museum is closed on Mondays (Tuesday when Monday is a holiday) and Dec. 29 - Jan. 3
Time Required 2.5 hours
Website http://www.city.uwajima.ehime.jp/site/uwajima-jo/
Location Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 13' 10.02" N, 132° 33' 54.58" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2005
Admin Year Visited 2016
Admin Visits Feb 27, 2016
Friends of JCastle
Malcolm Fairman Photography - Uwajima Castle


4.05
(20 votes)
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Matthew WardGunshi

5 days ago
Score 0++

I visited Uwajima Castle in fall 2022, and quite enjoyed it. As mentioned elsewhere here, photos of the main keep standing in isolation really don't do it justice. The keep itself is a great historical building, and very well-preserved, but it's best seen against the ishigaki and yaguradai of the Honmaru. And there are lots of good ishigaki in the various baileys on the castle hill. Really a nice place to climb around, and the somewhat ancient, overgrown appearance of some of the ishigaki present an interesting constrast to the very well-preserved keep.

I also enjoyed the few other extant buildings on the site, especially the Noboritachimon, which is small but extremely beautiful and well-preserved. The other 3 Edo-period buildings are all relocated. Probably the best for me was the Yamazato Warehouse, which used to be in the Sannomaru, but has been put, Tamon-style, atop a wall in what I think is the Nagato Bailey: quite a pleasing sight, with a decent little museum in it. It has an old nagayamon next to it, also relocated. From my reading, I can't quite tell whether this was inside the original castle grounds or outside, so while it's an extant Edo-period building, not sure if it's a relic of the original castle or not. Finally, there is the relocated and truncated Koori Residence Bukeagaya Gate pictured above, a relic from the castle town that (as far as I can tell), does seem to be a relic of the original castle grounds. It's been moved to the location of the former Otemon, which was unfortunately destroyed in WWII. I found that this modest collection of historical buildings enhanced the overall castle visit significantly.

Unfortunately, the moats seem to be largely gone (as you can see in the map above, the bay itself served as part of the moat before land reclaimation left the entire castle grounds considerably farther from the sea), but other than that, there is a lot to this castle for those with time to make it all of the way out to this obscure corner of Shikoku. We also visited Ozu Castle on the same day, and since they are on the same train line, they make a good two-castle day.
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DiegoDeManilaAshigaru

67 months ago
Score 1++

Visited 22 Nov 16. I don't think my initial expectations were very high, but - as is often the case - this place did a good job of exceeding them. The lush greenery that covers the entire castle hill actually seems to add to the experience, lending the lower enceintes an air of abandoned beauty. In contrast to the outer wards, the honmaru enclosure is quite well maintained, and mostly free of overgrowth. This served to emphasise the presence of the pristine white-plastered tenshu, standing in the middle of a grassy field shorn of all other structures (which have been reduced to scattered foundations poking out of the ground). I'd love to go back and explore the rest of the compound ... regrettably, I didn't even make it as far as the Noboritachimon on this hurried visit!

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

89 months ago
Score 1++
In Shikoku’s south west, and furthest south I’ve been in Japan so far, is Uwajima Castle, containing one of 12 of the nation’s original castle keeps. The Tenshukaku (donjon) of Uwajimajō dates to 1666. The eves of this darling tower seem to be tempered in their curvature with the interceding centuries, age-laden and bending beneath ceramic tiles. Today Uwajimajō is also loved for the beauty of its moss-covered ishigaki (stonewalls), which seem so well integrated into the surrounding greenery that they appear to have sprang from the ground naturally. There are several other original structures at the site. Firstly, Noboritachimon is the oldest (built sometime after 1596 and before 1615) and one of the largest extant Yakuimon-style gates. Yamazato-soko is a storehouse built for weapons in 1845. Storehouses like this one seem to be the first buildings to go at many castle sites so it’s nice to see one still standing. “Hanro Kōri-shi Bukenagayamon,” or the Gate of Chief Vassal Lord Kōri’s Estate, has been moved to the castle site from the surrounding castle town. It’s a gate house with adjoining enclosed spaces the like of which one often sees at fortified residences.
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Kiddus i2003Gunshi

120 months ago
Score 0++
Could not believe how well this was reproduced , along with the static displays this was a great day out , then there was the backstreets and the houses to photograph.
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RaymondWDaimyo

128 months ago
Score 0++
I went to this castle in mid-August and was pleasantly surprised by how much there is to see at this original castle. The only original structures left at Uwajima Castle are the castle keep, the Yamazato Weapons Storehouse, the Noburitachi Gate, and the Hanro Koorishi Bukenagaya Gate, but it has many more stone walls (ishigaki) than are shown in most books and magazines. Most castle publications tend to show just the castle keep, the Noburitachi Gate, and some of the main bailey’s stone walls. However, there are also extensive ishigaki around the Ido Bailey, Nagato Bailey, Third Bailey, Toubei Bailey, Daiuemon Bailey, and Shikibu Bailey. The latter two baileys along with the Obi Bailey on the southwestern side of the castle complex are off-limits to visitors as the stone walls are being restored. The Noburitachi Gate is a yakuinmon-style gate and claims to be biggest and oldest one in Japan, built during the Keicho Period (1596-1615). This is a fabulous original castle to visit. My wife and I took 2.5 hours to get around to all the baileys. If you don’t take a lot of photos, it is possible to do the whole site in around 2 hours. This is definitely a solid 4-star castle site because it has an original castle keep, three original structures, and lots of well preserved stone walls.
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FurinkazanDaimyo

144 months ago
Score 0++
After Ozu-jo i visited this one in the afternoon. Being one of the originals it is an interesting keep to go for. It's easy accessible, even when it rains. You can walk a fair distance under the shopping arcades. At the information point in the station they'll gladly indicate you the way to go. The keep is very small compared to others, but the inside structure is worth the visit.