Hamamatsu: The Black Castle of Hamamatsu (浜松城)
Another hilltop castle (浜松城 Hamamatsu-jō) can be found standing on a small park accessible by a short bus ride from Hamamatsu Station. One of the most distinguished feature of the castle is the black paint on the castle keep. Though it is just small and only a reconstruction of the original, the castle had played a large role in the history of Hamamatsu.
The original castle was constructed in 1582 by the Samurais of the Imagawa Clan and was called the Hikuma-jo. On 1568 it fell to the hands of Tokugawa Ieyasu (the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled virtually the entire Japan). Most of his well-known battles were done with the castle serving as his headquarters. The castle was destroyed during the air raid of the Second World War. After the war a reconstruction project was quickly mobilized for the castle’s reconstruction.
Though the main keep of the castle is only a reconstruction, its base stone foundation is still the original that was built during the time of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The old technique called ‘nozura-zumi’ is used in the construction of the base. Compared to those of the other castles, the stones that made up the foundation are crude and seemed to be randomly stacked.
Beside the castle, a statue of Tokugawa Ieyasu was erected in honor of the shogun and his contribution to the castle’s construction. Similar to the other castles around Japan, it is surrounded by gardens and trees. And being near a park, the surrounding is always filled with life, with both tourists and locals visiting it every day.
The castle keep is three floors high. The first two levels was made to a museum that shows different artifacts such as the original stones used, swords, crest, stamps, samurai dress and a miniature model of the castle town of Hamamatsu. And of course, there is also a souvenir shop inside as well as the omni-present vendo machine. The upper floor was turned into an observation deck. The view from the deck is limited, because of obstructions like trees and tall buildings.
Like in other landmarks in Japan, the castle’s surroundings are more colorful during the Cherry Blossom bloom.
If you’re travelling from Tokyo to Osaka, don’t forget to visit here and take a peek to its contribution to the history of ancient Japan.
From Hamamatsu Station (Tokaido Honsen), take a 15 to 20 minute walk going here, or take a bus (this is only one bus stop from the station)