2015.2.12
Ehime Ozu City

Ozu Castle: Beautifully, Faithfully Restored!

The remains of Ozu Castle are located in Ozu city in the southwestern part of Ehime prefecture. Using Edo period construction methods for the first time since the war, it has been faithfully restored.

Ozu castle was built on top of a small mound. There is a group of towers standing on top of sturdy stone walls.

The castle is 4 stories high and has quite the impact! It was restored in 2004 to its original specifications by using old construction methods and Japanese timber.

 

I climbed closer to the entrance of the tower.

 

On the sides of the tower there is the Daidokoro yagura (right) and the Koran-yagura (left) (yagura = turret), which are connected by corridors. Believe it or not, these two buildings are original!

The Daidokoro yagura is the castle’s main entrance. As you enter you see an armor exhibition and the wooden framework of the castle, among other things.

 

Pay attention to the wood used in the thick pillars and the ceiling! Highly skilled craftsmen built this during the Edo period.

 

You can feel the weight of history in the cracked pillars…

 

Next, we pass through the corridor to enter the interior of the castle. The smell of new wood is still in the air inside the Heisei era castle. Here, you can also see an exhibition abundant with materials related to the history of Ozu province.

Walking further on through another corridor, you enter the other Edo period building, Kouran yagura. Here you will find a diorama of the Edo period Ozu castle area on display.

 

You can see that it was truly an impregnable castle.

 

 

The charm of Ozu castle lays in being able to tour both the new and old buildings. Built during Edo period, the two yagura are original to the castle. The ‘new castle’ from the Heisei era is a building that was reconstructed to be as close to the original as possible using Edo period construction methods.

A castle where you can experience the charm of both old and new at the same time is rare in Japan.

And then, finally we climb to the top (4th floor) of the castle. Here is the view on the northern side of the castle. You can see Hijikawa River that flows through Ozu…

And this is the eastern side. Hijikawa River crawls by and you can see that it plays the role of a natural castle moat. Directly in the front, you can see Mt. Tomiyama, which is known for its azaleas.

 

Now we are at the river terrace of Hijikawa River. Crossing the river and attacking the castle seems nearly impossible. The yagura seen on the left corner of the riverbank is also from the Edo period.

Many castles have been rebuilt around Japan. However, most of them are not based on actual history, but rather built modeled on just the image of “a castle”.
Ozu castle, on the other hand, has been authentically reconstructed using materials from the actually period, which makes it as close as possible to the original.

These restoration methods were valued and Ozu castle was designated as one of Japan’s top 100 castles, and the yagura remaining from Edo period have been designated as Japan’s Important Cultural Property.

Seeing the old yet new castle keep is the biggest charm of Ozu castle!

Location: 903 Ozu, Ozu city, Ehime prefecture

Guide Homepage: http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~ozu_jou/ (Japanese)

Ozu Castle Keep:

Open: 9.00-17.00 ll year round
Fees: Adults JPY500 / Children JPY200 (under middle school age)

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka

 

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Written by

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.

http://www.healing-japan.tv/

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