Thursday, April 6, 2017

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - Hiroshima Castle 広島城

Visited 23.04.2015 (Thu)
Number of castles visited to date: 8
Top 100 castles in Japan: #73

Flatland castle. Returned to Hiroshima city after visited Kintaikyo and Iwakuni Castle in the earlier part of the day. Upon alighting from the train, we managed to catch the connecting Meipuru~pu bus to Hiroshima Castle, one other important historical property of Hiroshima city. As far as I could recall, Hiroshima Castle is one of the least physically demanding to conquer among all the castles I have visited before in Japan. Reason being this is a flatland castle built on a plain. Though it is relatively easier to reach the castle keep or Tenshukaku, I have to admit that the view of its surroundings seen from the highest level of Tenshukaku is not as spectacular as those situated on hills or highlands. The castle keep is also a museum, home to detailed exhibits with plentiful information describing the role of Hiroshima Castle and the life of people in the castle town. Therefore, Hiroshima Castle is still worth a visit especially if you would like to better understand the history of ancient Hiroshima, which is way before the fateful destruction caused by the atomic bomb during WWII.

Restored main gate of Hiroshima Castle.
Background / Highlights:

- The original castle was completed sometime between 1592 and 1599, and it was mainly constructed out of pine wood. Castle was designated as a National Treasure on 19 Jan 1931.

- Castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb which fell on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Only the castle keep / Tenshukaku was reconstructed in 1958. 

- Hiroshima Castle is also called "Carp Castle" or Rijo 鯉城 in Japanese. This nickname came about because the area where the castle was built on was called koi no ura 鯉の浦 or koi sea shore. In fact, carp is analogous to Hiroshima, therefore you can find various forms of pictorial representation here. Even the local baseball team, Hiroshima Toyo Carp, is named after this elegant fish.

Facing East.
- The castle originally had three moats during the Edo Period. However the outer and middle moats were filled in between Meiji and Showa Period, leaving the inner most moat surrounding Honmaru 本丸 and Ninomaru 二の丸 still intact till now. From the highest fifth storey of Tenshukaku, visitors can get a clear overview of the inner moat. Being a modern city, there are numerous high rise buildings, be it offices or residential blocks, standing tall in the vicinity of the castle. Sad to say, these elevated structures make the view captured from the observatory deck of Tenshukaku restricted and less far reaching.

The barricaded balcony on the fifth level of tenshukaku.

Facing South.

Facing Northwest. The well defined inner moat on the circumference of Honmaru.

Hiroshima Castle 広島城
Operating hours: 
- Dec to Feb: 0900 - 1700 hrs; last entry at 1630 hrs
- Mar to Nov: 0900 - 1800 hrs; last entry at 1730 hrs
Entrance fee = 370 yen

How to get there?

(1) By Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus Meipuru~pu めいぷる~ぷ.
Take the bus from Shinkansen Exit Platform 2 for Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus Meipuru~pu Orange Route. Alight at Hiroshima Castle (Gokoku Jinja mae) 広島城 (護国神社前).
Orange Route also covers Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien), Hiroshima Museum of Art, Kamiyacho, Hatchobori and Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.

Fare = 200 yen/trip
1 day pass = 400 yen
* Note: For travellers holding on to nationwide Japan Rail Pass, they can board this bus at no additional cost. Ironically, JR West Pass are not accepted on this bus.
Bus schedule:

(2) By Hiroshima Electric Railway 広島電鉄電車 or Hiroden.
From Hiroshima Station, take Streetcar 1, 2 or 6 and alight at Kamiyacho-higashi Station 紙屋町東. Approx. 15 mins walk from here.
Fare = 180 yen


Commemorative stamps:

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