Fukushima castle town diorama at Oguratei site, Feb. 5, 2021. (福島城下町ジオラマ 御倉邸に展示 2021年2月5日。)

(#Fukushima castle town diorama, Oguratei, Fukushima, Feb. 5, 2021. #福島城下町ジオラマ 御倉邸 福島2/5/2021)
Fukushima Castle existed in Edo period as the center of Fukushima domain ruled by Itakura clan. The ruling continued 167 years between 1702 and the end of Edo period. The scale of the clan was small with 30,000 “koku”, which was far smaller than other feudal domains such as Aizu, Nihonmatsu, and Shirakawa. Photo above shows entire diorama of Fukushima castle town which reproduced the castle townscape in Edo Period for the first time ever. And this castle town was the origin of the current Fukushima City, a capital city of Fukushima Prefecture.

The diorama was created based on old maps and drawings from 1705, 1711, and 1805. An old map shown above is from 1805.

(#Fukushima castle town diorama, Oguratei, Fukushima, Feb. 5, 2021. #福島城下町ジオラマ 御倉邸 福島2/5/2021)
In the close-up view of a part of the diorama shown above, “honmaru” or the core part of the castle can be seen with the Abukuma River flowing in the back and surrounded by moats on the other sides. There is no evidence of castle tower in here. Residential area of Itakura family is also fortified by moats. Current Fukushima prefectural office is located adjacent to the castle residential area, which is called “ninomaru”.

Oguratei residence site is where Fukushima castle town diorama is being displayed until 21st of this month. It is located just south of the castle town area where rice for the castle was carried and stored. Oguratei itself was a former public residence of Fukushima branch manager, Bank of Japan, built in 1927. It is 15-minute walk toward southeast from JR Fukushima Station.

At the same time, panel display for the history of Fukushima City is being held at AOZ hall which is 5-minute walk toward north from the station. It is focused on the history between Meiji and early Showa period. I think it’s a good opportunity to visit and see both to learn more about the city.

The exact route and locations are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.

Shirakawa historic sites tour: day 2, Nov. 14, 2018. (白河史跡巡り2日目 城下町2018年11月14日)

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Today was the second day and I first stopped at well preserved graveyard of the first lord of Shirakawa domain Niwa Nagashige in Edo Period. Photo above was a small pond called “Shonanko” located at the entrance point for the graveyard.

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Walking up for a while I came to a mausoleum of the lord Niwa Nagashige (1571-1637) as shown above.

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In the same graveyard there were tombs for other lords who served for Shirakawa domain. A brief description board on site, as shown above, explained it.

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There was also a tomb, as shown above, for 23 Nihonmatsu domain soldiers who died in Boshin Civil War in 1868. Why? Because Niwa lord family later moved to Nihonmatsu domain.

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Near the graveyard, there was a historic Daitoji Temple shown above in Umamachi area. The Buddhist temple was originally found in early 800’s at a separate place but later the lord Niwa Nagashige moved to the current place.

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Then I pedaled the bike heading toward Shirakawa Castle site, which was established between 1331 and 1337 by Yuki Munehiro who was a family member of powerful Shirakawa-Yuki clan at the time. The site was located on top of a large hill and the approach looked as shown above. (This site is different from Kominejo Castle which was built later than this one.)

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Climbing up the steps the top ground looked as shown above. Only a small shrine and a monument were there.

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Looking into the small shrine I found the name of the founder Yuki Munehiro as shown above.

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Leaving Shirakawa Castle site I headed to Nanko Park completed in 1801 by Shirakawa domain lord Matsudaira Sadanobu, which was designated as national historic site as well as national scenic site. This was the first official park in Japan and the entrance of the park looked as shown above.

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A Japanese style garden “Suirakuen” made later was located adjacent to Lake Nanko. The late autumn foliage looked as shown above.

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Right next to this garden there was Nanko Shrine where Shirakawa domain lord Matsudaira Sadanobu who developed Nanko Park was enshrined. There was a statue of the lord at the entrance of the shrine as shown above.

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A historic teahouse building “Shofutei-ragetsuan” which was built in 1795 was located within the precinct. The teahouse was originally built in separate place and loved by the lord, but later moved to the current site.

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Another historic teahouse called “Kyorakutei” was located on a small hill on the edge of Lake Nanko as shown above. It was built between 1801 and 1803 after the development of Nanko Park was finished. The name symbolized the basic idea of the lord that everyone should enjoy their life regardless of rank, position or class. Near Kyorakutei there was a tomb for Tanagura domain soldiers who fought and died in Boshin Civil War in Shirakawa battlefield.

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Leaving Nanko Park I headed to Inariyama site where Shirakawaguchi battle, which was the fiercest Boshin fight in Shirakawa between Tohoku region allied forces and the new government forces. Photo above was a grave for Aizu domain soldiers who died in the Shirakawaguchi battle.

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There was another memorial monument shown above for all the victims of Boshin Shirakawaguchi battle.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Restoration of Kominejo Castle stone walls in Shirakawa, Oct. 14, 2018. (白河小峰城 の 石垣修復 を見る 2018年10月14日 )

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Stone walls of Kominejo Castle site in Shirakawa were heavily damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Restoration work began after the disaster and it took more than 7 years to fix the majority of the walls. Today the repaired walls were opened to the public for only a single day and photo above shows the repaired western stone wall protecting the Honmaru or the central area of the castle. The location of the castle was right next (north side) to JR Shirakawa Station.

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Photo above was a map of the castle area posted at the site showing the repaired portion of the stone walls in red and blue. Restoration work was completed for the major parts except for the yellow part in the east. All the work is scheduled to be finished in the next few years when all the area will be open to the general public.

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Photo above shows the northern side of the wall which is the longest. White colored stones show the repaired part of the collapse.

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Photo above shows stone wall at the back side (northern side) of 3-story Yagura or turret building. This stone wall was one of the oldest ones built even before the large-scale reconstruction work between 1629 and 1632 lead by the load Niwa Nagashige.

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Right next to the east side of the castle area there was a large tomb for some of the new government force solders from Satsuma domain who died in the Boshin civil war battle in Shirakawa as shown above.
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Photos above show Shimizumon gate site (left hand side) which was the most important gate for the castle and which was located just in front of the main 3-story Yagura building. A brief description panel stood at the site.
Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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