JAPAN: Hiroshima (Hiroshima Castle)

The city of Hiroshima developed as a castle town as did many other towns throughout Japan. Hiroshima Castle, constructed on a plain in 1589, served as the city’s physical and economic center. Today, visitors to the castle will find the reconstructed five-story keep surrounded by a moat. Although the castle survived the Meiji restoration when many castles were destroyed, it did fall victim to the atomic bomb, which was dropped on the city in 1945. The castle was reconstructed thirteen years later from reinforced concrete and houses a museum, which chronicles the castle’s and Hiroshima’s history. A second reconstruction effort was undertaken in 1994 whereby the second layer of defense surrounding the castle known as the Ninomaru was reconstructed using traditional methods.

The castle originally had three concentric moats, two of which were filled in during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Within the castle walls, you will find three trees, which actually survived the atomic bomb. One is a eucalyptus, the other a willow and the third one is a holly. In addition, there is a concrete bunker from which the first radio transmission was broadcast following the detonation of the atomic bomb.

Situated next to the castle is the Gokogu Shrine. During the second week of January, the Tondo Matsuri where the previous year’s amulets are burned takes place here.

In October, the annual Hiroshima International Food Festival is held around the castle moat. The huge two day festival is a food lover’s paradise and showcases local food and beverages from all twenty-three cities and towns across the prefecture. Admission is free and visitors only pay for the food they consume.

The castle is merely a 15 minute walk from the Peace Park and worth visiting if you are in the area.

Web page: http://visithiroshima.net/things_to_do/attractions/historical_places/hiroshima_castle.html

Address: 21-1 Moto-machi Naka-ku Hiroshima City

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