The Park Surrounding Tatsuno Castle
Famous for both its fantastic autumn colors and its cherry blossoms, Tatsuno Park is located in the southwestern part of Hyogo Prefecture surrounding Mt. Keiro and Tatsuno Castle.
Constructed by feudal lord Yasuori Wakisaka during the Edo Period (1603-1867), the centerpiece of the park is Tastuno Castle, and many of its accompanying buildings still stand to this day.
This is Uzumimon gate. After passing through, stone-paved stairs lead you up between the castle walls and over moats until you eventually reach the inner citadel.
Known as Honmaru-Oten Palace, the central part of the citadel was reconstructed in 1979. One of the best autumn color spots in Tatsuno Park, the leaves on the trees surrounding it change color beautifully.
Admission to Honmaru-Oten is free-of-charge. Visitors can try on battle hardware including armor, helmets, jinbaori (battle coats), and take a tour around the building dressed as proper military commanders!
As there are many more spots to see beautiful autumn colors in the park, taking a stroll around the castle town is a very pleasant way to discover them.
A Walk In The Castle Town
Located more to the northwest, the very best autumn color spot in Tatsuno Park is Momijidani (maple tree valley). The path there takes you through the charming streets of the castle town.
When I visited the park, the leaves were not yet showing their best autumn colors, but the maple tree canopy was so thick that light struggled to pass through to the world below. The name Momijidani suits the area perfectly.
Japanese Garden Colors @ Shuentei
Further to the west, up the road from Momijidani, lies Shuentei.
The Shuentei Japanese garden is part of feudal lord Wakisaka’s mansion, and has been designated as a Group of Historical Buildings. Shuentei is also famous for being one of the best autumn color spots in the park. Constructed by Wakisaka in the Edo Period as a villa, the picture above shows Osuzumisho. Various other period buildings still stand nearby along with a beautiful teahouse.
As well as the promenade style kaiyu, and zashi, a place where visitors can sit down and enjoy the scenery in peace, the large garden includes various ‘environments’.
Designated as one of Tatsuno City’s Tangible Cultural Properties, the Fumido teahouse is said to have been given to feudal lord Wakisaka by emperor Komei in the late Edo Period.
Fumido is built in a style called sukiya. It resembles the style shoinzukuri, which incorporates the surrounding natural environment such as Jinjiike pond, the garden, and the Japanese cedar hedge, in a harmonious fashion. This combination, together with the maple trees, makes an especially superb scene that truly captures the very essence of the beauty of Japanese autumn colors.
Tatsuno Park is not a particularly spacious area, but among other things it is packed with nature and charming scenes such as Tatsuno Castle, the old castle town, and a Japanese garden. Visitors can go for a relaxing walk and at the same time experience the romance of Japanese history. The best time to see the autumn colors is from mid-November to the beginning of December.
Momijidani, famous for its maple trees, is one of the places in the Kinki region that enjoys an extended autumn color period. Anyone who still has not been able to go and see this year’s autumn colors should come to the castle town of Tatsuno!
Tatsuno Park (Tatsuno Castle – Momijidani – Shuentei)
Address: Tatsunocho Shimokajo, Tatsuno City, Hyogo Prefecture
Tel: 0791-64-3156 (Tatsuno City Office of Industries, Department of Commerce, Industry and Tourism)
Mondays (if Monday is a public holiday, the following day is closed) and December 29th – January 3rd (Honmaru Palace & Shuentei)
8:30 – 17:00 (Honmaru Palace)
9:00 -16:30 (Shuentei) ※The park is open throughout the day
Parking: Available (free-of-charge)
Usual autumn color period: Mid-November to the beginning of December
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: 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'.
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