Shiroishi Castle 白石城
Shiroishi Castle History
Shiroishi Castle, south west of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku region of northern Japan, originally dates from the Kamakura Period (1192-1333), when a simple wooden fortress would have existed here.
It was during the Warring-States Period in the 1590's that Shiroishi Castle (lit. "White Stone" castle) was rebuilt with stone walls and a sturdy keep (donjon) by the Gamou clan.
With the coming to overall power of Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1600 after the Battle of Sekigahara, Shiroishi Castle was reclaimed by Masamune Date in Sendai and given to his retainers the Katakura clan, who held sway from the castle until it was demolished after the Meiji Restoration in 1874.
Located on a 75m-tall hill west of JR Shiroishi Station, Shiroishi Castle and its walls and gates were reconstructed and opened to the public in 1995. The wooden donjon and the stone wall on which it stands were rebuilt using traditional materials and methods.
No metal nails were used to rebuild the 3-storey donjon, for example, which is made from locally grown cypress and pine. The fire-proof clay and plaster walls of the keep are 21-24cm thick and along with the Ichinomon and Ninomon Gates were also restored using traditional building techniques.
The pleasant castle grounds contain 4 wells from which the castle defenders could draw their water during attack, a large bell and now form a small park planted with cherry trees.
There are excellent views of Shiroishi from the top storey of the donjon. Adjacent to Shiroishi Castle is the interesting Shiroishi Castle History Exploration Museum (白石城歴史探訪ミュージアム), with exhibits relating to the castle and a 3-D movie theater.
In early October, Shiroishi Castle is the venue for the annual Oni-Kojuro Festival (鬼小十郎まつり) where participants in samurai costumes re-enact an engagement at the Siege of Osaka Castle, when an army under the command of Tokugawa Ieyasu wiped out the last of the Toyotomi clan in 1615. The festival lauds the participation in the battle of the local warrior and lord of Shiroishi Castle Katakura Shigenaga (known as "oni" or devil for his ferocity in combat).
Tel: 0224 24 3030
Admission: 300 yen
Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm; closes 4pm from November-March)
Access To Shiroishi Castle
From JR Shiroishi Station, the castle is a 15-minute walk. By car, take National Highway 4. The quickest journey by train is around 50 minutes from Sendai Station on the JR Tohoku Line or 30 minutes from Fukushima.
Shiroishi Castle Map
The streets around Shiroishi Castle have some restored Edo Period houses with thatched roofs and delightful gardens set back from a stream with little drawbridges connecting them to the modern road.
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