PLACES

Japanese Castle; Nishio Castle / 抹茶の町・西尾市のシンボル 西尾城

2013.06.02 [PLACES,WHAT'S NEW]

Japanese Castle; Nishio Castle / お茶の町・西尾市のシンボル 西尾城

Nishio Castle lies on the eastern plains of Aichi Prefecture in the center of Nishio city, a former
castle town now known for it’s textiles industry and for the manufacturing of metal casings.
Nishio Castle dates back to the 13th Century when it was known as Saijo Castle. Built by Ashikaga
Yoshiuji around 1221, it remained in the hands of the elite Ashikaga clan for a number of generations.

 

西尾市のシンボル「西尾城」西尾市歴史公園として整備され、西尾城の一部を復元しています。
江戸時代、西尾藩六万石の城であった西尾城の歴史は、1221年、足利義氏によって築城された西条城が
はじまりだと言われています。

 

 (photo;  Honmaru Ushi Tora Yagura)

 

In 1561, General Sakai Masachika, a loyal vassal of the Tokugawa clan captured the fortress. This castle
was later handed over to his son, general Sakai Shigetada, who, on the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu,
soon commenced works to expand and strengthen the fortress. By 1585, the castle had been almost
completely rebuilt. Sakai had overseen the enlargement of the castle grounds and stone walls, increasing
the defensive turrets and gates, and building a large, impressive keep. By 1590, Tanaka Yoshimasa had
been installed as the castellan, and further construction added the castles’ third citadel, including a number
of yagura watchtowers and gates. By this stage, Nishio Castle had become a most impressive stronghold.  

 

 

1561年、酒井正親(まさちか / 家康の祖父の代より松平・徳川に仕えていた人物)が、西尾城を攻め落として
城主になると、その後、1585年に、正親の子・酒井重忠が徳川家康の命により、二の丸に天守を建て城を拡大
していきます。さらに1590年には、重忠の後に城主となった田中吉政が、三の丸に大手門や櫓門が増築し、
西尾城の基礎を作り上げていきました。

 

 

During the Edo Period (1603-1868) Nishio was a prosperous castle town, and despite it’s relatively small
larea, was valued at 60,000 koku. (A koku was 278.3 litres, or 150 kilograms of rice, determined to be
the quantity required to feed a man for a year. Each fiefdom’s wealth and value was measured according
to the output of rice.) It was a commercial centre, famed for its production of not only rice, but tea too.

 

Like most Japanese castles, Nishi Castle was abandoned in the late 1800’s when the feudal period came
to an end, and the samurai caste disbanded. The castle was quietly and ingloriously dismantled during
the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Today, the water filled moats and stone walls can still be enjoyed, along
with some earthen embankments and other former fortifications of the castle. The main castle gate has
been well constructed providing the visitor with a fair idea of the size and scale of the Sengoku Jidai,
Civil War period castle. Although the main keep longer exists, the main central turret has also been
reconstructed. The castle’s garden contains a tea room where you can enjoy a simple tea ceremony.

 

 

In 1996 the Honmaru Ushi Tora Yagura, or Cow and Tiger Watchtower was re-constructed, along with
the main gate guarding the castle’s second citadel. The remaining parts of the castle can also be seen,
although it may be best to have some one guide you around the site to fully appreciate what remains.
An Edo period homestead, the Kyu Konoe tei has been relocated to the grounds, and seasonal treats and
Nishio’s famed tea is served. Enjoy the gardens and other attractions within the castle precincts.

 

Within Nishio city, a number of other historical sites including samurai houses remain from the era and
are well worth going to visit to see how the ruling warrior caste lived. Just a few minutes walk north
of the castle, a number of old houses line the roads invoking images of a long gone Japan.

 

The museum on the grounds below the castle like turret is free and quite interesting, as it features
a number of photographs and ancient maps and depictions of the original castle.

 

(Photo, Kyu Konoe Tei

 

明治維新後に、城は取り壊されてしまいますが、1996年には「本丸丑寅櫓(ほんまるうしとらやぐら)」、城主の
居所である二の丸御殿につづく「鍮石門(ちゅうじゃくもん)」が再建され、城下町としての風格を取り戻しました。
現在も石垣、水堀、土塁などの遺構も見ることができます。遺構は少しわかりにくいかもしれませんが、歴史に
想いをはせながら、じっくり歩いてまわってみてください。二の丸には、江戸後期に建てられた旧近衛邸(きゅう
このえてい)が移築されており、西尾名産のお抹茶と季節の和菓子を楽しむこともできますよ。そのほか、西尾城に
関する絵図や西尾藩主の手紙、甲冑などが展示されている西尾市歴史資料館も見どころです。

 

 

A trip to Nishio Castle will take you to a fortress little visited by most Japanese, let alone foreign visitors.
For fans of Japanese history, castles and the samurai, it’s a must see!

 

 

西尾市歴史公園から少し北へ行けば、歴史を感じる町並みも。城をマニアックに楽しむ、日本庭園を見ながら
お抹茶をいただく、歴史を体感しながら町歩きをする…さまざまな時代の歴史を体感することのできる、
西尾市歴史公園・西尾城。ふらっと気軽に訪れたい魅力的なスポットです。

 

 

 Information

 Address; 西尾市錦城町231番地1
     231-1, Kinjyo-cho, Nishio

 


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