15.Ashikaga Clan Hall Part2

Ashikaga remains with an atmosphere of the medieval city.

Later History

Even after Ashikaga Clan Hall was turned into Bannaji temple, Ashikaga town continued to prosper more and more as the home town of the Ashikaga Shogunate family. The temple had as many as 12 branch temples outside the square area during its peak. In the Edo Period, the Tokugawa Shogunate helped the town and temples as they had declared the shoguns were a branch of the Nitta Clan, a relative of the Ashikaga Clan, which meant they were descendants of the Minamoto Clan.

The illustration of the main and twelve branch temples, owned by Bannnaji Temple, quoted from the Ashikaga City Website

However, after the Meiji Restoration, the temple declined and lost all the branch temples. This was because of a movement to abolish Buddhism called Haibutsu-Kishaku in the first Meiji Era. Only the main temple in the square area survived. As for castle ruins, it was designated as a National Historic Site of Ashikaga Clan Hall in 1922. Ashikaga City has been developing the area around including the Ashikaga School and Kabasaki Hachimangu Shrine (the former Kabasaki Temple) as a historical site as well as a tourist spot.

Only the main Bannaji Temple remains now


Hall Ruins are surrounded by Earthen Walls and Moats

Today, Ashikaga continues to have an atmosphere of a medieval city. Bannaji Temple as the ruins of Ashikaga Clan Hall is its center. One side block of the hall, which is about 200m long, remains with earthen walls and water moats surrounding it. Ducks and carps swim on and in the moats. The walls might have been higher and the moats might have been wider and deeper when they were used for the hall, but the current state matches the temple now.

The aerial photo around the castle

The remaining earthen walls and water moats around the hall ruins
Carps are swimming in the moats
The inside of the earthen walls

Main building as National Treasure

The inside of the block has buildings only for the temple, not for the hall. However, you should check out many remaining old buildings. The largest main building was built in 1299 during the Kamakura Period and has been designated as a National Treasure. You can see, on the ridge tiles of its roof, three family crests of the Imperial family in the center, Daigoji Temple which was the head temple of Bannaji on the left, and the Ashikaga Clan on the right. The two highest ridge-end tiles called Shachihoko or the Grampuses have lightning rods to prevent a fire from a stroke of lightning.

The main building as a National Treasure
The three family crests on the ridge tiles
One of the Grampuses with a lightning rod

Temple buildings show help from Goverments

The Bell-Tower of the temple was also built during the Kamakura Period and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property.

The Bell-Tower as an Important Cultural Property

The Sutra Library was built in 1407 during the Muromachi Period by Mitsukane Ashikaga, the head of the Kanto government.

The Sutra Library which is another Important Cultural Property in the temple

The Eastern and Western Gates were also rebuilt during the same period by the administration office, which look like simple gates for the hall.

The Eastern Gate
The Western Gate

The Multi-Treasure Pagoda and the Mausoleum were rebuilt by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Overall, you can see the temple had been helped by the successive governments for a long time.

The Multi-Treasure Pagoda
The Mausoleum

To be continued in “Ashikaga Clan Hall Part3”
Back to “Ashikaga Clan Hall Part1”

投稿者: Yuzo

城巡りが好きなYuzoです。日本には数万の城があったといわれています。その内の200名城を手始めにどんどん紹介していきます。 I'm Yuzo, I love visiting castles and ruins. It is said that there were tens of thousands castles in Japan. I will introduce you top 200 castles and ruins of them, and more!

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