Learn All About Fukuyama! Highlights From The Fukuyama Castle Museum
Fukuyama Castle, known in Japan as one of the 100 most famous castles, serves as a symbol of Fukuyama City in Hiroshima prefecture and houses a museum specializing in the culture and history of Fukuyama.
Fukuyama Castle, towering over Fukuyama city, located in central Hiroshima prefecture, is a leisurely stroll from the conveniently located JR Fukuyama Station, which just so happens to be a stop on the shinkansen line. The castle is also known for being an excellent tourist destination for those interested in history and culture, where visitors can see exhibitions on historical artefacts as well as take in the beauty of the castle itself, famous for being one of the 100 most renowned castles in the country. Upon visiting the museum, visitors are treated to a glimpse into the gushing well of culture that was the Fukuyama Castle Town.
About Fukuyama Castle
The history of Fukuyama Castle dates back to 1619 when the feudal lord Mizuno Katsushige became the ruler of the region, then known as Fukuyama Province. After the castle was completed three years later in 1622, the region continued to develop around the base of the structure in what is known as a castle town.
Years later, Fukuyama Castle fell into disrepair after being abandoned and was eventually destroyed in a fire, but in 1966 the castle’s keep, observation tower, and tea house were all reconstructed. As the castle was being constructed, elements of Fushimi Castle in Kyoto that escaped destruction during the war such as the Fushimi observation tower and Sujitetsu-Omon gate were moved to Fukuyama Castle, allowing visitors to enjoy these national historic treasures even today.
Highlights of the Fukuyama Castle Museum
The Fukuyama Castle Museum features a permanent exhibition where visitors can experience the history and culture of Fukuyama. Spanning from the basement to the 4th floor, the top floor features a viewing deck where you can look down on the streets of the town.
In the basement, visitors are treated to a scaled model of what the castle used to look like, illustrating the scale of the castle wherein you realize that the current keep and observation towers made up only a fraction of what the castle comprised at the height of its glory.
The Daimyo who built Fukuyama Castle, Mizuno Katsushige, was a vassal and distant relative of the Tokugawa family that came to power during the Edo period. The museum also features genealogies explaining the relationship between the Mizuno and Tokugawa families.
In that same exhibition room, visitors are treated to a statue of Miyagi Michio, a koto (Japanese stringed instrument) player and composer active in the early 20th century. This is because Fukuyama has been a region known for producing koto since old times.
Located on the 1st and 2nd floors are exhibitions of sets of samurai armor that give a glimpse into the life of a warrior during the Edo period. Displaying outstanding detail, these sets of armor are not only sturdy but also decorated to match the owner’s personality. Seeing sets of armor this up-close is just another facet of the Fukuyama Castle Museum that sets it apart from the rest.
Other than armor, the 2nd and 3rd floors also feature paintings, hanging scrolls, and day-to-day goods all hailing from the Edo period.
Viewing Platform Looking Out Over Fukuyama
The top of Fukuyama Castle now serves as a viewing platform where those who climb to the top can get a look out over the whole area surrounding the castle.
Seeing the beautiful city streets across from the mountains brings about special sense of harmony between the natural and the artificial. Before you head out to other tourist spots in the town of Fukuyama, we recommend taking in the town as a whole from up here first, taking in the view that juxtaposes new buildings against the old.
Viewing the castle as you leisurely stroll through the castle garden affords a completely different appearance from gazing up at it from up close. The garden also has observation towers and a statue of Mizuno Katsushige as well as plenty of other great places to snap souvenir photos.
At the Fukuju Kaikan (Meeting Hall) located nearby, visitors looking for even more Japanese cultural experiences can enjoy taking part in workshops held by local professionals. What better souvenir than getting a picture of yourself, dressed in a kimono, with Fukuyama Castle in the background?
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