6276 Chihama, Kakegawa, Shizuoka Prefecture, 437-1412, Japan
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More about Kakegawa


Close-up look of OtamayaClose-up look of Otamaya

The View of Kakegawa from the lookoutThe View of Kakegawa from the lookout

Suspension Bridge Over Ogasaike PondSuspension Bridge Over Ogasaike Pond


Travel Tips for Kakegawa

The PALACE in Kakegawa

by cheesecake17

The palace was constructed in the latter part of the EDO era..It had 3 functions;
it was the place where official ceremonies were held,
the official residence of the lord
and finally it was a government office..

This palace is similar to Kyoto's Nijo Palace in that they were both built within castle walls..
This is a unique feature rarely seen in Japanese castles..

.The total floor space is 947 square meter..but the original space was 1.091 ...

The structure is a one storied wooden palace roofed with tiles..

Palace style is SHOIN-ZUKURI, which has 20 rooms covered with tatami, and each room is divided by FUSUMA(paper wall)

There are a few things on display as you walk around the different rooms


by cheesecake17

"Edo Period"

The Edo Period was the period of the Tokugawa shoguns.

At the end of the Sengoku Period, Tokugawa Ieyasu usurped power from the other daimyo and was granted the status of Shogun.

Whether their policies were good or bad, Ieyasu and his descendents reigned in an era of over 250 years of peace in Japan. The first few Tokugawa shoguns went to great lengths to insure their dominance over the other daimyo throughout Japan.

The Tokugawa strategically placed their allies in territories that could keep watch over other daimyo who weren't Tokugawa allies from the Battle of Sekigahara.

They also forced all of the daimyo to spend half of their time in Edo (Tokyo) which helped the Tokugawa to keep a close watch over their activities.

These pilgrimages back and forth between Edo and their home territories placed great financial burdens on the daimyo which was also a part of the Tokugawa master plan.

The Tokugawa enforced strict social reforms too. They created a rigid caste system of samurai, peasants and merchants. The samurai were the only ones allowed to carry weapons and no one could change caste.

They officially banned Christianity and closed Japan to the outside world. Only the Dutch and Chinese were allowed to trade with Japan and that was in a few closely monitored ports only. The Edo Period is also known as the sakoku jidai, the period of isolation.

During the two and a half centuries of peace, merchants who were supposedly at the bottom of the caste system prospered while the samurai fell into ruin.

Since there were no more wars the samurai could not hone their skills and over time they lost most of their once cherished abilities.

Towards the end of the Edo Period, many samurai didn't even carry real swords anymore. Many unfulfilled samurai turned to the arts to occupy their time and the Edo period saw a flourishing of art unparalleled in Japanese history.

Various internal and external influences led to an overthrow of the Tokugawa government in 1868.

"Castles During the Edo Period"

After more than a century of war Tokugawa reigned in a peace of more than 250 years called the Edo Period.

Even though an extended period of peace was established, castles still remained an important symbol of authority.

Under the Tokugawa regime each province was required to have one castle and no province could have more than one.

As a result, some provinces with no castles were forced to build essentially useless castles. Other provinces had to tear down sometimes historically important castles to prevent having more than one in the province.

This law, known as ikkoku ichijoo, also required daimyo to get permission from the Tokugawa governemnt to build, rebuild or renovate any castle.

During the Edo period there were approximately 170 castles throughout Japan.

"Sengoku Period"

The Sengoku Period is usually defined as the years from 1467-1573,.

The Sengoku Period is one of the most interesting periods in Japanese history and gives rise to some of the most famous historical figures.

It is the golden age of the samurai. Following the Onin Wars (1467-1477), Ashikaga rule weakened and Japan was subsequently thrown into a century of anarchy.

Political forces and alliances changed regularly and everyone continually vied for more power and larger territories.

Into this chaos marched Oda Nobunaga. Utilizing brilliant military and political tactics Nobunaga began the unification of Japan. He was, unfortunately, forced to commit suicide by one of his own lieutenants, Akechi Mitsuhide, in 1582. Nobunaga's top aid Toyotomi Hideyoshi picked up where Nobunaga left off and completed the unification of Japan.

Hideyoshi lived a colorful life indulging in the arts and also waging two disastrous invasions of Korea.

Before his death in 1598, Hideyoshi established a government ruled by a council of lords in place of his young heir Hideyori.

A complicated power struggling involving the lords of Hideyori's council ended in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, a member of the aforementioned council, emerged as the victor and moved the military capital to his castle town of Edo (Tokyo).

In 1603 Tokugawa was named Shogun by the emperor which gave him undeniable supreme military command over the country.

In 1615 Tokugawa stormed Hideyori's fortress of Osaka Castle and eliminated the only remaining threat to his power. Tokugawa died a year later in 1616 and the Sengoku Period came to a close.

"Castles During the Sengoku Period"

During the Sengoku Period , hundreds of castles were constructed throughout Japan.

The first castles were built high atop inaccessible mountains to serve as both a watchtower over the land and a safe retreat for the daimyo during a war.

These castles are comparatively smaller and do not maintain as extensive moats, turrets or other supporting structures found in other castle types. These are called yamajiro(mountain castle).

As the Sengoku Period got underway it became necessary to not only conduct battles from the castle but also to administer the government, manage growing armies and attend to the ever changing web of alliances.

The mountaintop castle was therefore faded out in favor of more practical designs. The hirayamajiro(flatland-mountain castle) was built on a low hill with a good view of the surrounding area.

The main keep of these castles was built larger and taller than the mountain top castles providing a good vantage point to watch over the land.

Oda Nobunaga built the first such castle, Azuchi Castle, in 1579. Azuchi Castle was destroyed after Nobunaga's death in 1582. With the change from mountaintop castles the donjon of flatland castles also became more beautiful and grand.


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