Apr
11
2013

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

I spent the morning in Hamamatsu City to visit the castle, the Hamamatsu Festival Pavilion and also the nearby sand dunes. In the afternoon I decided to explore the nearby Kakegawa Castle.

smilie Visited: April 4th 2012 smilie

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

Where is Kakegawa Castle?

Kakegawa Castle (掛川城) is located in Shizuoka Prefecture (map) and on clear days you can even see the top of Mt. Fuji from there!

It’s really easy to get to the castle in a short (10-15 min.) walk from the JR Kakegawa Station.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

You’ll probably enter through Kakegawa Castle’s Yotsuashimon (Four Legs Gate, 四足門).

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

There’s a small model of the original castle grounds right next to the gate.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

Kakegawa Castle’s origins

Kakegawa Castle was built about 500 years ago by Yoshitada Imagawa who was the lord governing the area at that time.

There were a lot of Civil Wars and the Imagawa family gradually lost their power. Eventually Katsutoyo Yamauchi, who was a vassal of the Toyotomi clan, became the lord of Kakegawa Castle.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

Lord Yamauchi renovated the damaged castle and ordered the construction of the first castle tower of Kakegawa Castle.

During the Edo period Kakegawa Castle greatly flourished.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

A big earthquake in 1854 destroyed most of the castle (including the tower) and in 1869 it collapsed completely.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

The ruins of the castle were used as a park and in 1993 the castle tower was rebuilt. It was the first tower in Japan to be rebuilt with wood.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

Kakegawa Castle’s Main Tower

The tower stands nowadays at a height of almost 20m above the ground. From the outside it looks like there are only three levels, but actually there are four stories inside.

According to the Kakegawa Castle pamphlet some experts say that the castle tower’s white-plastered appearance was modeled after Jurakutei (聚楽第) in Kyoto and the black-laquered balcony and railing after the castle tower of Osaka Castle.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

Karahafu” is what the triangular part of the roof is called – formed by the sloping eaves characteristic of the architecture of those days.

The windows of the 2nd floor are in the “Katomado” style, a window type used in zen temple structures.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

Here you can see the palace “Goten” that was constructed in the latter part of the Edo era. It was the place where official ceremonies were held, but it was also the official residence of the lord. Furthermore it was used as a government office.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

The palace is within the castle grounds and offers a great view of the castle’s main tower.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

The “Goshoin-kami-no-ma” is where visitors were permitted to meet the lord. It is the central room of the palace.

It has a typical Japanese “Tokonoma” (床の間), a special alcove decorated with a hanging scroll (chosen according to the season) and flower arrangements.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

Inside the palace there’s another detailed model of the former castle buildings.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

As you can see the weather was extremely beautiful and the cherry blossoms where in full bloom. I enjoyed my stay there a lot!

In 2012 the cherry blossoms were not as early as in 2013. When I went to Chiba and Kanagawa first, there were almost no cherry blossoms yet, but Shizuoka Prefecture is always a bit earlier than Tokyo and surroundings. You might want to keep that in mind if you ever travel to the Kanto or Chubu area in early April.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

The surrounding park is really nice! They have planted so many different trees! I fell in love with the weeping cherry blossom tree you can see in the photo above.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

I’m sure that the park will be a blast even if you visit outside of cherry blossom season.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

The castle tower is rather small and it’s “only” a reconstruction, but because of its location (so close to Mt. Fuji and on a small hill) I really liked it!

It’s certainly a castle I can recommend visiting if you are in Shizuoka Prefecture. If you are a castle fan, then it’s a must!

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

The castle park is very clean and is regularly taken care of.

Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka Prefecture

On your way between the JR station and the castle you’ll find these manhole covers that are displaying Kakegawa Castle.

 

T O U R I S T     I N F O R M A T I O N
Opening Hours: Feb-Oct: 9:00-17:00 (enter before 16:30) / Nov-Jan: 9:00-16:30 (enter before 16:00)
Holidays: December 30th – January 1st
Entrance fee: 400 yen (adult); 150 yen (children: 6-15); free (children under 6)
Time required: around 40-60 min.
TEL: (+81)053-722-1146
Website: http://www.city.kakegawa.shizuoka.jp/
Access: 10 – 15 min. walk from JR Kakegawa Station

 

You’d think after I had visited 2 castles, a festival hall and sand dunes that my day was over at that point, but NO! It was still afternoon when I left to explore yet another castle in Shizuoka Prefecture: Tanaka Castle
Yes, three castles in one day! Not too bad, huh?

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