Sasayama Castle Oshoin: Exquisite Wooden Architecture From The Past

Sasayama Castle is the place to visit if you want to learn more about the history of Sasayama. The city developed around this castle starting in the Edo Period. The lecture hall (oshoin) is an impressive monument of architecture that offers glimpses into Edo Period Japanese culture.

The History of Sasayama Castle's Oshoin

In 1598, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the warlord who ruled for the first time over a unified Japan, passed away. At the same time, Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the prominent feudal lords of the time, began to take over authority.

Although Tokugawa won various conflicts both political and military, Toyotomi Hideyori, Hideyoshi's son, still held considerable power. In 1609, Tokugawa built a castle in Sasayama, located close to Osaka, where Hideyori resided. 80,000 workers were gathered for the construction.

The lecture hall, or oshoin of Sasayama Castle was used for official ceremonies by the Sasayama lords for 260 years after its completion. It was also used as an elementary school in modern times. The building was lost to fire in 1944, and rebuilt in 2000, with the support of Sasayama citizens. Ninomaru (the secondary enclosure of a castle) was also reconstructed in 2000.

The Architecture of Sasayama Castle Oshoin

The lecture hall has a semi-gabled roof, a style showing high status, with layers of shingles. There is a special vestibule at the north side, complete with a canopy adorned by a karahafu (undulating gable). These features, along with the size of the structure, show the importance of this building.

Jodan no ma (a room with a raised floor) was used by the lords of the Sasayama domain. It is decorated with staggered shelves for display, artwork on sliding doors, and bay windows, which are all the staples of the shoin-zukuri, a classic Japanese architectural style.

The drawing on the wall in the back of the raised floor, which is 6.9 meters wide, was converted from a painting on a folding screen done by a famous artist in the early Edo Period. This room is alive with the atmosphere of the original building.

The oshoin also displays a video showing the Sasayama Castle at the time of its construction, a model of the castle, and various materials about the jokamachi, the town surrounding around the castle. Visitors can learn about the history of the Edo shogunate and Sasayama.

Sasayama Castle Oshoin - Information

Address: Hyogo, Sasayama, Kita-shinmachi 2-3
Telephone: +81-79-552-4500
Access: From JR Sasayamaguchi Station, take the Shinki Green Bus bound for “Sasayama Eigyosho,” and get off at the “Nikaimachi” bus stop. It is a five-minute walk to the oshoin.
Admission Fee: adults 400 yen, university and high school students 200 yen, children aged from six to fifteen 100 yen.
Special Group Rate (for groups over 30 people): adults 300 yen, university and high school students 150 yen, children aged from six to fifteen 50 yen.
** Visitors can enter the main tower, the honmaru tower, and the ninomaru tower for free.
Closed: The oshoin is closed on Mondays and from December 25 to January 1. (If Monday is a national holiday, it will be closed on Tuesday.)


※Available in English