Japanese Castles: Kofu Castle
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Kofu Castle 甲府城
Kofu Castle (Tel: 055 227 6179), also known as Maizuru Castle, is located a short walk from Kofu Station on a hill, in a park area now known as Maizurujo Koen (Maizuru Castle Park).
Kofu Castle was built in 1583 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the most influential men in Japanese history, and the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty, which was to rule Japan from 1603 to 1867. Ieyasu was acting on the orders of the ruling strongman of the time - Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
After the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 the Toyotomi clan was defeated and Kofu Castle came under the complete control of the Tokugawa regime.
The castle was administered throughout the Edo Period (1603-1868) by a series of retainers and favorites of the Tokugawa, due to its strategic location on the road to Edo (Tokyo).
Kofu Castle was ravaged by fire in 1727.
The original castle buildings, with the exception of the impressive stone walls and parts of the moat, were largely demolished in 1877. Kofu Station was later built on earth removed from the castle grounds.
The castle was opened to the public in 1904 as Maizuru Park.
In recent times, the Inari Yagura tower has been rebuilt referring to ancient documents and using traditional techniques to produce an authentic replica of the turret first constructed in 1664. This two-story wooden building, completed in 2004, now contains a small museum which displays the castle's surviving artifacts - including roof tiles and gargoyles.
Look out for Kofu Castle's impressive gates: Inarimon, Kajikuruwa, Uchimatukagemon and the recently restored Yamanote Gomon gates. The grounds of the castle contain cherry trees and a Japanese-style garden to your left if you enter by the picturesque Yukibashi Bridge. There are great views of the surrounding mountains and Kofu city from the top of the Honmaru enclosure.
Access - Getting to Kofu Castle