Hiroshima: Learn the Samurai Culture at Hiroshima Castle (広島城)
Also known as the Carp Castle (鯉城 Rijō), the Hiroshima Castle (広島城, Hiroshimajō) is a beautiful castle at the heart of the city. It is a flat castle, built on the plain in the center of the city, rather than on the hilltop or mountaintop like that in other castles. Its main keep is five stories tall and its grounds boast a large garden and is surrounded by a moat.
Constructed in the 1590s, it was decimated by the atomic bombings but was rebuilt in 1958. The castle is a good example of a reconstruction for it stayed very close to the original design.
The main keep houses a museum containing relics of the history of Hiroshima prior to the war. But the main catch here is exhibits and galleries on the Samurai culture.
As a part of the Hiroshima tour, castle hunting must not be left out in the Tupang Gala’s itineraries whenever we go to any city in Japan. Immediately at the gate stands a large torii. The garden is of a typical zen-type design, that gives refreshment while strolling, but it’s advisable to bring water especially during summer. Not far away some ruins can be seen, where the castle originally once stood.
The castle was built in 1589 by Teruomto Mori, a feudal lord ruling the city at that time. Since then Hiroshima was developed as a castle town and became a center of the city’s history. During the Meiji Restoration, castles were viewed as symbols of the previous ruling elite, and nearly 2,000 of them were dismantled or destroyed. Others, like the Hiroshima Castle, were simply abandoned and eventually fell into disrepair.
After the Meiji Restoration, the castle was used as a military facility up to near the end of the Second World War. It was not spared by the atomic bombing; on August 6, 1945, at 8:15 in the morning, it was completely destroyed by the bomb which detonated only 980 meters far. The entire foundation was blown away. The surrounding cedar trees that stood for centuries were burnt to ashes. Those who tried escaping the inferno drowned in its moats.
Admission to the castle grounds is free, but the main keep, which houses the museum, has an admission fee of ¥370. Some information was written only in Japanese, so understanding them is really a struggle. The 2nd and 4th floors contain the Historical Exhibits. It contained things, relics, and photos on Hiroshima’s prewar history. There are also special exhibits documenting the castle’s restoration. There are samurai dresses and noble kimono dresses that can be worn for photo ops, but make sure to take care of the helmets.
The 4th floors contain various weapons and armors of the samurai. Among those in the exhibit are different katana blades, decorated wooden mountings, different kinds of seppas or sword washers, and of course, sharpening stones. Some swords can be touched and held, where you can feel how heavy they were. The top floors serve as an observation platform, where you can see the city with a 360-degree panoramic view.
If you’re visiting Hiroshima, make sure to have a visit here in your spare time. If just having a shortstop, you can still admire it even at the distance for its wooden exterior.
- There is no restroom inside the main keep or museum, so it’s advisable to make a visit to a CR outside before visiting.
- Download apps relating to the castle and museum for your convenience
- Because this lacks any elevators and has steep stairs, this is not advisable for those with mobility problems
- We recommend more visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum instead because aside from having English translations its exhibits are more interactive.
- Main Keep: 370 yen
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
HOW TO GET THERE
- The castle is a ten-minute walk from Kamiyacho-nishi or Kamiyacho-higashi tram stop (12 minutes, 180 yen from Hiroshima Station by lines 1, 2 or 6).
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)
- Shukkeien Garden