Fukuoka Castle Ruins
Escape to Edo at this attractive castle park.
Nestled in the centre of Fukuoka Prefecture in Maizuru Park, the atmospheric ruins of Fukuoka Castle, also known as the Maizuru Castle, is one of the most famous spots in the prefecture for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.
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Dating back to the 17th century, Fukuoka Castle was built by Kuroda Nagamasa, the lord overseeing the affairs of the Chikuzen feudal domain. It was built as a means of support for his ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu, during the battle of Sekigahara in which Ieyasu later won. An architect, Noguchi Kazushige, whose work on the Osaka and Edo Castles was renowned, was tasked with building the stone walls of Fukuoka Castle. His adroit workmanship was lauded by Kato Kiyomasa, another prominent feudal lord, who dubbed the structure “Seki-jo” (Stone Castle) in commemoration of his accomplishment. The Kuroda clan presided over the castle until the nation’s shift away from the feudal system in 1870, the inaugural year of the Meiji Era.
Once known as the biggest castle in the whole of Kyushu during the Edo Period, Fukuoka Castle was reduced to ruins after the Meiji Restoration in an attempt to get rid of all vestiges of the Japanese feudal system.
The remains of the castle mainly consist of gates and guard towers, while traces of the well-preserved moat system can be seen bordering the northern part of the park and in front of the lake located in nearby Ohori Park. There are also vestiges of an ancient foreign guest house underneath the castle grounds – first unearthed in 1987. Out of the three guest houses that once existed in Japan for the purposes of international trade, only the one in Fukuoka remains.
After taking in the castle sights (and the sakura, if you’re in luck!), stop by the nearby Ohori Park if you can –another popular outdoor space in the city.