Uwajima Castle in Japan, with a history of over 400 years
Uwajima castle is located in Uwajima city in the Ehime prefecture. It is a castle with a precious castle tower that was exempted from the castle deconstruction order in the Meiji era. Apart from the castle tower, the stone walls and Keichō era (from 1596 to 1615) castle gate has remained unchanged for over 400 years. In this article, We will introduce the appeal and history of Uwajima castle that was established as Mt Shiroyama park in the present day.
A cunning plan to trick enemies was employed with Uwajima castle
Uwajima castle was first built by Takatora Tōdō who was proficient at castle architecture techniques.Until the land was reclaimed, there were traces of Takatora’s ingenuity that made use of the land facing the ocean appear everywhere. One of these is that the outer wall was shaped like a pentagon with unequal sides. Actually, this castle was surrounded by a pentagon shaped outer wall, but the it was designed to trick people into thinking it is square. The entire castle design was inherited by the Daimyō after Takatora. The still existing castle tower is the one that was restored by the next owner after Takatora moved to new territory, the Date clan. However, the overall castle design used Takatora’s design as a base.
One of the 12 Currently Existing Castle Towers! Uwajima Castle Tower
Uwajima castle tower was exempted from the Meiji era castle deconstruction order and is one of the 12 existing castle towers in Japan that has been designated a national Important Cultural Asset. The current 3 layer, 3 story castle tower is a reconstruction from 1666. There were no set ups such as gaps or bretèche to allow for shooting arrows or guns in battle, and since it has quite a decorative exterior, you can tell it is a castle tower of high status from a peaceful era. If you pay the admission fee to go up the tower, you will be able to see across Uwajima, as well has the mountains and sea. We recommend this photo spot.
Uwajima Castle’s Noboritachimon Gate
In the Meiji period, before the castle Yagura (watchtower) and gates were taken down, there were seven gates between the south mountain trail starting point and the castle tower. Among these, the only one still in existence is the city designated cultural asset, “Noboritachimon gate”. This Noboritachimon gate is top class as a Yakuimon style gate that is considered to be a Samurai main gate, with two pillars holding the roof up at the front and back.
The moss covered stone wall and stone steps of Uwajima castle
This castle wall has a mix of different time periods and purposes. If you compare the craftsmanship techniques, you may find something interesting. Also, there are two routes you can take to get to the castle, one is a steep flight of stone steps and the other is a gentle slope. The steep stone steps allow you to feel the history and the time to get to the castle is comparatively shorter. On the other hand, the gentle slope is one that was put into place later. For those who have the leg power and want to feel the history in the route to the castle, the stone steps are recommended.
Mt Shiroyama the place where Uwajima Castle is, but is also a treasure trove of plants
Mt Shiroyama has over 450 kinds of plants, including some rare ones. For many years there were no fires and no tree felling. It appears that the history of this castle is also engraved into the plants that grow here.
- Castle Construction: 1601
- Reconstruction (Castle of the castle below the castle tower): 1671
- Spot name: Uwajima Castle
- Street Address: 1 Marunouchi, Uwajima City, Ehime 798-0060
- Access: Haneda Airport → [Airplane] about 85 minutes → Matsuyama Airport → [Matsuyama Airport Limousine Bus] about 15 minutes → Matsuyama Station → [JR Limited Express Uwakai No.17] about 85 minutes → Uwajima Station… from there about 15 minutes on foot(about 35 minutes on foot to the castle tower).
- Credit cards：No credit cards accepted
- Opening hours: [Castle tower] 9:00 to 16:00 (* November to February) 9:00 to 17:00 (* March to October) [Uwajima Castle (Mt Shiroyama)] 6: 00-17: 00 (* November to February) 6: 00-18: 30 (* March to October)
- Admission fee: [Castle tower] 200 yen for adults and 160 yen for junior high school students and younger. [Uwajima Castle (Mt Shiroyama)] Free
- A cunning plan to trick enemies was employed with Uwajima castle
- One of the 12 Currently Existing Castle Towers! Uwajima Castle Tower
- Uwajima Castle’s Noboritachimon Gate
- The moss covered stone wall and stone steps of Uwajima castle
- Mt Shiroyama the place where Uwajima Castle is, but is also a treasure trove of plants