Experience History! 5 Castles and Ruins in Fukuoka From the Warring States Period
The Sengoku period (also known as the Warring States period, mid-15th century to the 16th century) was a period of Japanese history in which various battles over hegemony were had throughout the country. During that period, various castles were built throughout Fukuoka. Here are 5 of those historical castles, from castles that are still standing to those that remain in ruins.
1. Fukuoka Castle Ruins
Fukuoka Castle, in Fukuoka, only has a portion of the castle still standing. The stone base of the castle tower and a building that functioned as lodging and a lookout are both designated as national important cultural properties, while the Kinen Tower and Shiomi Tower are prefectural tangible cultural assets. All of these remain as they were during the Sengoku period.
Near the castle ruins is the Fukuoka Castle Ruins Visitor Center, where they have documents relating to the castle on display. You can see old maps and recreated models to experience the charms of the castle, so please stop by.
2. Kokura Castle
Kokura Castle is a castle in Kokura that is a reconstructed version of the one that originally stood there but it's famous for being the only castle in Japan made with an architecture style called "karazukuri."
Inside the castle, there are dioramas and video exhibits recreating the castle town, as well as an observation space where you can overlook all of Kokura. You can ride a model of a daimyo (feudal lord) carriage and experience the feeling of being a ruler.
Castle entrance fee: 350 JPY for general admission, 200 JPY for middle and high school students, 100 JPY for elementary school students
3. Akizuki Castle Ruins
Akizuki Castle, 7km north from the center of Asakura, is surrounded on 3 sides by mountains because it was built to be secure against attacks. The castle town, sometimes called "Chikuzen's Little Kyoto," is registered as a nationally protected group of historical buildings, so you can still enjoy the beauty of it today.
Some of the most famous remains in the town now are the Kuromon and Nagayamon gates. The Kuromon was the front castle gate, but was moved to the road leading up to Suiyou Shrine. The Nagayamon gate was the gate leading to the noble's private quarters, and is the only building within the castle grounds that remains in its original place.
4. Kurume Castle Ruins
Kurume Castle is a castle built on a small mountain on the banks of the Chikugo River in Kurume.
The remains of the main tower remain, including the rock walls and western side of the main facade facing towards the moat. There's also the Arima Kinenkan, a memorial museum where armor and crafts from successive generations of daimyo are exhibited. Every early March to early April, about 30 cherry blossom trees bloom and the grounds are painted in pale pink.
Arima Kinenkan entrance fee: 200 JPY for high school students and above, 100 JPY for elementary and middle school students
5. Najima Castle
Najima Castle in Fukuoka is surrounded by ocean on 3 sides and is known for its salt-water canal and dry moat.
Currently, it's in Najimajoshi Park, and there are only a few remains from the original structure. The remains of Sumi Tower, constructed on an enclosure jutting out into the northwest, have a great view that includes the ocean. There's also the remains of the stone wall near the path that runs through the park - a must-see!
Within the city are two gates that were originally part of Najima Castle and moved elsewhere: the Najimamon gate is now at Fukuoka Castle ruins and the Karamon gate at Sofukuji Temple.
When you visit Fukuoka, definitely check out the castles and remains to experience the romance of history. Try picturing yourself in the Sengoku period when you're around the atmosphere of that time period!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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