1/7

Hiroshima Castle

SAKURA IN SPRING -- Hiroshima Castle is one of the great Sakura viewing spots in Hiroshima. 

It is free to enter the castle precinct. It's famous for pre-wedding photo shooting in Sakura season. You might encounter several well-dressed happy couples under Sakura with professional photographers. 
The following share some tips for overseas visitors to enjoy Hiroshima Castle.
DRAMATIC HISTORY -- Hiroshima Castle has many stories in the history. The construction began in 1589 and Mouri, the feudal lord, moved into the castle in 1591. When completed, Hiroshima Castle is the largest class castle in West Japan. These dramatic stories began with him 9 years later. 
 
  • Three feudal lords for the first 28 years (1591 ~ 1619). Mouri became the General of West Japan troop at the Sekigahara Battle but lost in 1600, which forced him to go out. Fukushima, the 2nd feudal lord, took over his position, but was punished for the infringement of Samurai rules not to modify any castles without the Shogun's permission. He was even deprived of his Samurai title. Asano, the 3rd Feudal Lord, took over Fukushima in 1619. This clearly shows the ups and downs of Samurai lives. The stone wall of Fukushima still remains untouched.
  • Hiroshima used to be the temporary Capital of Japan (1894) -- After Samurai era, imperial army facilities were built inside the castle. Two out of the three castle towers were torn down. Emperor Meiji lived there for 7 months, running the diet in Hiroshima during the Shino-Japan war in 1894. Amazingly Hiroshima functioned as Capital of Japan. There are still the foundations of Emperor and Empress houses inside the castle precinct. 
  • All completely destroyed by the Atomic Bomb (1945) -- All buildings including the tower were destroyed by the Atomic Bomb in 1945 and only the stone walls remain as is. The current castle was re-constructed as exterior restoration in 1958 and is now used as Hiroshima History Museum.
  • Future preservation -- The castle tower was recently judged "not durable enough against big earthquakes over the intensity of 6, For the safety consideration, the tower will be shut off in 2025. The city of Hiroshima is reviewing whether its perfect wooden castle restoration or temporary repair is pursued. As the castle was designated to a national treasure in 1931, it fortunately has the blue print for the 100% restoration. If 100% restored, Hiroshima Castle will become one of the highlights in Japan sightseeing.
CARP CASTLE -- Hiroshima castle is called "Carp Castle", partially because there were many carp farmers around the castle and partially because the name of the town close to the castle is "Koi" whose pronunciation is exactly the same as "carp (Koi in Japanese).

Please enjoy feeding the carp at the entrance as you can buy food there. You would never get tired of watching them desperately eating.
 

Hiroshima has much to do with carp. A symbolic thing is that the name of the professional baseball team is "Carp". Carp is also known as a lucky charm for boys. Why? Carp becomes dragon after swimming up the last fall. 
Carp in Hiroshima castle moat
Hiroshima Castle - sightseeing boat
NAME OF HIROSHIMA -- The castle is deeply involved in the name of Hiroshima. When it was constructed on the largest delta island, this place was named Hiroshima. "Hiro" means broad and "Shima" means island. Hiroshima literately means "Broad Island".

Since the completion of castle construction, the castle town has been expanded by reclamation and landfill. You can find the remains of the old shorelines in the city. Interestingly a few islands located offshore Hiroshima at that time are now ordinary mountains in the town with the expansion.
HIDDEN DEVICES FOR DEFENCE -- Our ancestors were really clever. They implemented many good ideas into the wall, gate, paths and other castle designs to protect the castle. It is always the interesting thing to picture how they were fighting at battles when you visit any castles.
Hiroshima Castle - Masugata for defense
hiroshima castle018.JPG
Hiroshima castle - zigzag design
Hiroshima Castle - Stone drop
REMAINING SCARS OF THE ATOMIC BOMB -- You can find many scars of the bombing inside the castle, such as the semi-underground military office that made the first report on the destruction of Hiroshima, reddish stone walls colored by fires, torii exposed to the bombing, deformed A-bombed trees, stone foundations of the buildings blown off by the explosion blast, etc.
Foundation of Emperor Meiji office in Hiroshima Castle
Semi-underground militaly office
OTHER TIPS -- There are more tips to enjoy the castle inside. For examples, the city views from the observation deck and Gokoku Shrine having English omikuji (written oracles). In the tower, you can try on Samurai fighting gears, such as helmet, protector, kimono, for your commemorative photos. You can even hold the sword to feel the heavy weight.
Samurai gear in Hiroshima Castle
View from Hiroshima castle
Our Half-day downtown Hiroshima tour will go through these on site. At your request, we can flexibly set up tailor-made tours. Please contact us by e-mail for our suggestions.