Aizuwakamatsu Castle, also known as Tsuruga Castle, is a traditional fortress located in the center of the city of Aizuwakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture. It is beautiful in spring, surrounded by cherry blossoms, but it is a great place to visit year-round. Let’s learn more about the history of this castle, and what you can see there today.
History of Aizuwakamatsu Castle
The castle was built by Ashina Naomori in 1384 and originally called Kurokawa Castle. Until 1868, it was the administrative and military center of Aizu. Date Masamune, the great warlord who fought the Ashina clan for years, captured it in 1589, but was soon subdued by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and surrendered it in 1590.
In 1592, a new lord, Gamō Ujisato, redesigned it and named it Tsuruga Castle, although the townspeople still referred to it as Aizu Castle or Wakamatsu Castle. During the Edo Period, it was the seat of the Aizu Han daimyo. The founder was Hoshina Masayuki, the son of the Tokugawa Shogun Hidetada and the grandson of Ieyasu. He and his descendants used the Matsudaira surname again.
During the shogunate, it was an important Tokugawa stronghold in the region of Tōhoku in Honshu. In 1868 during the Battle of Aizu which was part of the Boshin War, it was besieged and after a month of resistance, it was surrendered by Matsudaira Katamori and in 1874 it was destroyed by the new government. The main tower of the castle, or tenshu, was rebuilt in 1965. It now houses a museum and, at the top, a lookout point with views of the entire city.
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