Hirosaki Castle[Castle Special Topic Japanese History]

[Castle name]
Hirosaki Castle

There are various stories regarding Temenobu Oura’s birthplace, it is said that he could be a son of Morinobu Oura, or Kuji castle’s owner, Kuji-shi’s son. In the recent years he is considered to be from the Oura family.

In 1571 there was a battle in the Nanbu family between Harumasa Nanbu and Nobunao Ishikawa, and at that time Tamenobu Oura started to expand his power, cutting off the Ishikawa family’s territory in Tsugaru region.

弘前城:南部信直からの独立大名津軽為信の城 桜で有名な弘前城【お城特集 日本の歴史】

After Harumasa’s death, Harutsugu Nanbu became the head of the family but he died at the age of 14. Because of this, there was a battle within the family to decide the next successor of Harutsugu, and there was a battle between Sanechika Kunohe and Nobunao Ishikawa, and eventually Nobunao Ishikawa became the next successor of the Nanbu family.

At that time Tamenobu Oura was considered as an enemy because he was supporting the Kunohe side, and he was becoming isolated. Tamenobu started to expand his power in Tsugaru region when the Kunohe family and Nobunao Nanbe were fighting against each other.

弘前城:南部信直からの独立大名津軽為信の城 桜で有名な弘前城【お城特集 日本の歴史】

At that time Hideyoshi Toyotomi was in midst of the unification of the country, and Tamenobu tried to be close to Hideyoshi Toyotomi by going through Mitsunari Ishida and even though he went through many obstacles he successfully managed to become close to him.

弘前城:南部信直からの独立大名津軽為信の城 桜で有名な弘前城【お城特集 日本の歴史】

In 1590 Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s siege of Odawara started, and Tamenobu received an audience by Hideyoshi, receiving the certificates of Shoryo Ando (acts providing authorization for land ownership and guaranteeing feudal tenure).

He then became Daimyo who was independent from Nanbu-shi, and changed his name from Tamenobu Oura to Tamenobu Tsugaru. In 1594, Tamenobu built Horikoshi castle and moved there from Oura castle, but decided to built another castle in Takaoka (current Hirosaki castle) because it was not suited for military matters.

弘前城:南部信直からの独立大名津軽為信の城 桜で有名な弘前城【お城特集 日本の歴史】

In 1600 when he decided to be on the East troops (Tokugawa side) at the battle of Sekigahara, he received 2 thousand Koku from Ieyasu Tokugawa, and Hirosaki domain was established. At Hirosaki castle, only Honmaru is made with stone walls and other constructions including Kuruwa was made from Dorui. The castle tower was 5 tiered initially but it was burnt down by a lightening.

弘前城:南部信直からの独立大名津軽為信の城 桜で有名な弘前城【お城特集 日本の歴史】

The current Tenshu was built when Honmaru’s Tatsumi Yagura was remodeled at the end of Edo period.

■ The remodeling of Hirosaki castle’s stone walls was started for the first time in 100 years

In 2014 after Hirosaki’s cherry blossom festival ended, the remodeling of the stone walls in Hirosaki castle had started. Hirosaki castle Tenshu is being moved 70m towards north west from its current position, using Hiyaki method, without being dismantled.

Hiyaki started in the summer of 2015, and it will take at least 5 years to be finished. The remodeling happened first time in 100 years, and this remodeling of 3 tiered important cultural treasure is considered very rare in the whole country.

1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori 036-8356


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