A small town castle fit for a Shogun.
From its perch atop Mount Torafusu in the heart of Wakayama City, Wakayama Castle has stood sentinel over the city that bears its name for nearly 600 years. Its construction was ordered by the famous samurai general, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, so that this remote and wild province could be more effectively administered.
It briefly passed to the Asano Clan who made significant improvements before finally coming under the direct control of the Shogun who installed a branch of the Tokugawa Clan. These “Lords of Kishu” would hold the castle for the next 250 years and several of this family line went on to become Shogun themselves.
Like many city-based castles, Wakayama Castle is surrounded by some lovely gardens.
The current castle is a concrete reconstruction, having been destroyed by lightning in the 19th century and by bomb damage during World Wa rII. The three-floor keep occupies the western side of Mount Torafusu and contains an excellent museum with well-preserved exhibits including weapons, armor and many documents detailing the history of the castle. The top of the tower affords a splendid view over the city.
Gardens at Wakayama Castle
Like many city-based castles, Wakayama Castle is surrounded by some lovely gardens. In particular, the Momijidani-Teien is very beautiful, especially during fall, as one might expect with a name that translates as “Garden of the Valley of Maple Leaves.”
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Wakayama Castle is an interesting reconstruction within lovely grounds that can be explored at a relaxed pace as it doesn’t attract the huge crowds that flock to more famous castles like Osaka, Himeji and Matsumoto.