Friday, November 4, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Kochi Castle 高知城

Visited 23.11.2014 (Sun)
Number of castles visited to date: 4
Top 100 castles in Japan: #84

Original. Second castle visited during this trip. This was a last minute insertion and the last sightseeing spot visited before we headed for Kochi Airport to return home. Though we were almost on the verge of dragging our aching feet while climbing multiple flight of stairs to reach the castle keep/tenshukaku, the panoramic view seen from the highest point of the castle made everything worthwhile and concluded our holiday on a high note! As Kochi Castle is one of the twelve castles which has their original tenshukaku retained, it is a precious historical asset being painstakingly preserved by the locals for many future generations to appreciate.

Left: A two storey gate named Tsumemon 詰門 serves as corridor between Honmaru and Ninomaru. The invincible stone walls formed the base of Honmaru. 
Tsumemon and Ninomaru (the second citadel) seen from Tenshukaku. 
 Highlights / Background: 

- Construction of castle begun on Mt Otakasa 大高坂山 in 1601. Honmaru 本丸 (the main citadel) and the stone walls of Ninomaru 二ノ丸 (the second citadel) were completed by 1603. Mt Otakasa was renamed as Mt Kochi. In 1611, Sannomaru 三ノ丸 (the third citadel) completed construction and the castle was mostly completed by then.

View on the east side. Building with the red roof on the left is Kochi Literary Museum 高知県立文化館. The building which has a gable roof and residing behind Kochi Literary Museum is a church.
Look down and you will find Shachi (鯱), an ornament depicting a mystical animal which has the head of a tiger and body of a carp, attached onto the roof.
Spotted the mystical Shachi again!
- A large fire broke out in the castle town in 1727 and it destroyed most of the castle structure except for Otemon Gate 追手門. Reconstruction efforts kick started in 1729 and restoration of castle tower, watch towers and gates were completed in 1749.

View on the west side. Love the sight of overlapping mountainous ranges in the background.
Everyone want a piece of this picturesque scenery!
- In 1874, Kochi Castle was opened to public as a park. In 1934, Kochi Castle was designated as a National Treasure; and redesignated as Important Cultural Property in 1950.

- Kochi Castle celebrated momentous 400th anniversary in 2001.

Peeking through the opened window - a strong contrast exists between this historical landmark and surrounding modern structures.
Within the tenshukaku, there is a detailed miniature model portraying how Kochi Castle looked like in the past. Apart from being an excellent observatory, the tenshukaku also serves as a historical museum shedding light into the lives of people in the past. 

Tenshukaku has been in existence for close to 300 years after its rebuilt in 1749. Standing at 18.5 m tall, it is made up of three storey externally and six storey internally.

Kochi Castle 高知城
〒780-0850 高知市丸ノ内一丁目2番1号
Operating hours: 0900 - 1700 hrs; last entry at 1630 hrs
Closed between 26 Dec to 1 Jan.

How to get there? 

(1) By Tosaden / Tosa Electric Railway streetcar どさでん電車.
Board the streetcar at Kochi Ekimae 高知駅前 and alight at Harimayabashi はりまや橋. Ttransfer to another streetcar heading for Kagamigawa bashi 鏡川橋/Asakura 朝倉/Ino 伊野 and alight at Kochi-jo mae 高知城前

(2) By foot. It takes about 25 minutes to walk from Kochi JR Station.


Commemorative stamps:


Video: Kochi Castle was featured in Taiwan produced travelogue program.

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