Views of Japan

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Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Welcome to my little blog. I'm an Australian father, budõ practitioner, and freelance photographer currently living in Japan. Castles, temples, shrines, mountains and rice paddys are among some of the scenes I present here. Please enjoy Views of Real Japan.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Iga Ueno Castle, Iga, Mie Prefecture

Iga Ueno Castle, Iga, Mie Prefecture

Iga Ueno castle is one of the 100 best castles in Japan. It is situated on the site of the former Heirakuji temple and is a fine example of the Japanese realising the tourist potential of the romantic fictional image of Japan's superman warrior - the ninja.

The Castle is a part of the larger Ueno Park which has a monument to the famous poet Matsuo Basho who was born in Iga and the Iga Ueno Ninja Museum.

The original Iga castle was built in 1585 by Tsutsui Sadatsugu, four years after Oda Nobunaga had destroyed Iga and "pacified" the troublesome Samurai of Iga and practically put an end to their mercenary skills.

In 1608, on the grounds of bad management, the Tokugawa government confiscated the territory of Iga and posted Todo Takatora (1556-1630) in the castle.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, showing respect and appreciation for his connection to Iga and it's famous spies, instructed Takatora to enlarge the castle and it was planned to be one of the three finest castles in Japan.

Extensive work was carried out on the moats and walls. The walls of the main keep are 30 metres high being the tallest of any castle in Japan. The castle tenshu (keep) was to be five-stories with an unhindered view in all directions, but during it's construction a severe storm knocked it down and it wasn't rebuilt.

The current tenshu is a modern reproduction on a grand scale, it is by far the best and most accurate reproduction castle in all of Japan.

Constructed entirely from wood and plaster using the exact same methods as castles of the Sengoku period, it stands atop one of the most impressive walls in Japan, commanding a spectacular view over the entire Iga region.

Inside the castle are a great many historical artefacts including armour, swords, spears, everyday items and equipment from the Sengoku period through to the Meiji period most of which was formerly property of or related to the Iga Samurai and their skilful ninja.

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