57.Sasayama Castle Part2

Visiting the main portion of the castle

Later History

After the Meiji Restoration, Sasayama Castle was abandoned and all the castle buildings, except for O-shoin or the Large Study Hall out of the Main Hall, were demolished. The hall was used as a school and a community center for a while, however, it was unfortunately burned down by an accidental fire in 1944. After World War II, the Inner Moat out of the double water moats was filled to became a normal park. However, since the castle ruins were designated as a National Historic Site in 1956, the trend changed. Tanba-Sasayama City has been developing the ruins as a historical site such as the hall being restored in 2000 and the moat being dug up again.

The photo of the Large Study Hall, in 1943, private owned (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The Large Study Hall which was restored in 2000
The Inner Moat which was dug up again


From Main Gate Ruins to Main Portion

Today, the ruins of Sasayama Castle have been developed by Tanba-Sasayama City with the remaining warriors’ houses and the castle town atmosphere. Visitors usually first visit the Main Gate Ruins in the north in front of the Outer Moat. Unfortunately, the gate and its Umadashi system were destroyed, so only their traces remain now.

The ruins of Umadashi system on the Main Route

The aerial photo around the castle

If you walk the path to the center of the ruins passing the Outer and Inner Moats, you will reach the ruins of the Front Gate and Kurogane-mon or the Iron Gate, the entrance of the main portion. These ruins are still surrounded by stone walls of double Masugata system, which you can imagine the main gate had a similar system to it.

The Onter Moat at the northern side
The path over the Outer Moat
The area around the former Main Gate
The earthen bridge over the inner Moat
The ruins of the Front Gate, which has the first Masugata system behind
Going to the second Masugata system
The ruins of the Iron Gate

Restored Large Study Hall in Second Enclosure

The main portion has the Second Enclosure in the front and the Main Enclosure in the back. You can enter the restored Large Study Hall with the historical museum. You will first get in the museum where you can learn the history of the castle

The entrance of the historical museum
One of the exhibitions in the museum

Then, go in the hall where you can experience what it looked like in the past. The Large Study Hall was used for public ceremonies which has an impressive large hip-and-gable roof above the front entrance. Visitors enter it not from the front but from the side and walk around the corridors surrounding the rooms. There are eight rooms inside such as Honored Guest Room, Dark Room for storing, and Tiger Room for waiting.

The front side of the Large Study Hall
Visitors enter the hall form the right side
The Tiger Room
Here is the inside of the front entrance
The Honored Guest Room

There are also the flat exhibitions of the residential area for the lord and the ruins of Uzume-mon or the Small Back Gate behind the hall.

The flat exhibitions of the residential area in the Second Enclosure
The ruins of the Small Back Gate

Stone Wall Base for Main Tower with Viewing Spot

The Main Enclosure is the highest point of the castle. The inside of it looked to be a square during the Edo Period, but the Aoyama Shrine, which worships the Aoyama Clan, the last lord family of the castle, has been there since its launch in 1882.

The Second Enclosure in the front, the Main Enclosure in the back
The Aoyama Shrine in the Main Enclosure

The large stone wall base for the Main Tower is at a corner of the enclosure, which is a good viewing spot of the city area. You can also see a triangle-shaped Takashiroyama-Mountain in the distance, where the ruins of Yagami Castle, which was active in the Sengoku Period, is. The stone wall base had a very small single turret for its scale at the edge during the Edo Period.

The stone wall base for the Main Tower
The top of the base
The ruins of Ygami Castle
The appearance of the Main Enclosure during the Edo Period, exhibited by the historical museum in the Large Study Hall of Sasayama Castle

To be continued in “Sasayama Castle Part3”
Back to “Sasayama Castle 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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