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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hamamatsu Castle

Hamamatsu Castle is a Japanese castle reconstructed in hirayama-style. It was the seat of various fudai daimyo who ruled over Hamamatsu Domain, Totomi Province, in what is now central Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is also called Shussei Castle.

Hamamatsu CastleThe origins of Hamamatsu castle is unclear however it appears that a fortification was built on this site by Imagawa Sadatsuke, the 4th head of the Enshu Imagawa clan from around 1504-1520. The early castle was called Hikuma Castle and was entrusted to Imagawa retainer Iio Noritsura. After the fall of the Imagawa Yoshimoto at the Battle of Okehazama, Iio Tsuratatsu rebelled against Imagawa Ujinao, but was defeated. However, the greatly weakened Imagawa clan was unable to withstand the combined forces for Tokugawa Ieyasu from Mikawa and Takeda Shingen from Kai.

The former Imagawa territories in Totomi were divided between the Tokugawa and Takeda in 1568, with Tokugawa Ieyasu obtaining Hamamatsu. He relocated his headquarters from Okazaki Castle to Hamamatsu in 1570, and spent the following 17 years there.

Tokugawa Ieyasu renovated and greatly expanded the castle, which he renamed Hamamatsu Castle in 1577. He relocated to Sunpu Castle in 1586, entrusting Hamamatsu Castle to Horio Yoshiharu, who was followed by his son Horio Tadauji. After the Battle of Sekigahara, Hamamatsu was briefly ruled by Tokugawa Yorinobu, followed by a succession of fudai daimyō through the remainder of the Edo period. Contemporary records indicate that the castle was never built with a tenshukaku-style keep. Throughout its history, a two-story yagura located within the second bailey served as a substitute keep.

HamamatsuIeyasu Tokugawa StatueWith the Meiji Restoration, the remaining military structures of the castle were destroyed, outer moats filled in, and outer baileys sold off. The central portion of the castle remained owned by the city as a park. In 1958, a faux donjon was constructed out of reinforced concrete on top of the original stone palisade built by Tokugawa Ieyasu. This palisade is known as the "Norzura-zumi" referring to the method used to fit the stones together.

The reconstructed structure has three stories with an observatory affording a view of the Pacific Ocean at the topmost level. There is a small museum inside which houses armor and other relics of Tokugawa clan, as well as a miniature model of how the city might have looked at the start of the Edo period. Surrounding the museum is Hamamatsu Castle Park which is planted with numerous sakura trees. A large bronze statue of Tokugawa Ieyasu also stands in the park.

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