Japanese Castle – IGA UENO CASTLE / 伊賀上野城(三重県)

2013.06.19 [PLACES,WHAT'S NEW]

【Japanese Castle】 IGA UENO CASTLE / 伊賀上野城(三重県)

Iga Ueno is the home of the ninja! It is also the home of the wandering poet, Matsuo Basho,
as well as the home to one of Japan’s most famous castles, the Hakuho, or “White Phoenix”
Castle, better known as Iga Ueno Castle, used in the 1980 multi award winning Kurosawa Akira
directed movie, Kagemusha.





Construction of Iga Ueno Castle commenced under the command of Takigawa Katsutoshi (1543-1610)
although he was dispossessed of his lands a year later. Most of the Honmaru, inner citadel, and the keep
were completed in 1585 by lord Tsutsui Sadatsugu (1562-1615) by appointment of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Following Hideyoshi’s demise and the Battle of Sekigahara, Tsutsui was accused of poor governance and
his clan abolished by the Tokugawa Shogun in 1608. In his place, the Tokugawa installed the warrior
Todo Takatora, (1556-1630) a daimyo recognized as one of the finest castle architects of the Sengoku
Period, having at least 20 castles to his credit. The Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered the castle be increased and
strengthened in order to use it as a base with which to launch an attack on Osaka.





Takatora rebuilt the Honmaru inner bailey, and increased the height of the stone ramparts to a
record 30 meters, making them the highest in Japan, rivaling those of Osaka Castle! The elegant
white castle, sitting tall on it’s stone walls was also known as Hakuho, or “White Phoenix” Castle,
as it was said to have resembled the mythical bird nesting in the greenery at it’s base.




Between 1614 and 1615, ten watchtowers, and a 40m long storage watchtower, main gate and castle
palace were built. These were all used until 1825. The castle remains were demolished in 1869 at the 
end of Japan’s feudal period. Unfortunately the six story main tower of the castle was destroyed in a
typhoon in 1612 during construction, killing and injuring scores of workers and samurai and due to the 
Tokugawa Shogun enforced laws regarding castle building and upkeep, was never rebuilt until 1935, 
when the multi-story keep was again re-constructed in wood.  The castle is now a museum containing 
a fine selection of samurai arms and armor, scrolls, artworks and artifacts from around the region. 
From the top of the castle you can see over the city of Iga Ueno.





The Iga Ueno Castle is a much loved symbol of the city and the castle and grounds are now
registered as a National Historical Site. The Ninja Museum and former Ninja residence farm-house
are within the castle grounds, as is the strangely shaped temple and museum dedicated to the
wandering poet Matsuo Basho.







Web Site;  (Japanese)


Access; Ueno City is about 95 kilometers west of Nagoya and 80 km east of Osaka.
             From the JR Nagoya or Osaka Station, take the JR Kansai Main Line to Iga Ueno
             Station and transfer to Kintetsu Iga Line to Uenoichi Station. It takes 1 hour and
            40 minutes or 2 hours depending on timing and route.


Admission ; 500 yen for adults. A combined admission ticket (with a small discount) is
                    available for Ueno Castle, Ninja Yashiki Museum, and the Danjiri Museum,
                    all of which are within easy walking distance of each other.


Opening hours for Ueno Castle are from 9am to 5pm (last admission at 4.45pm). 


View Larger Map

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