Kanazawa Castle 金沢城
Kanazawa Castle is just across the Ishikawa Bridge from Kanazawa's prime attraction, the Kenrokuen Garden. Both sites are must-sees on a visit to Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture.
History of Kanazawa Castle
Kanazawa Castle was the seat of power of the local Maeda clan. The Maeda family were the hereditary feudal lords (daimyo) of the Kaga province (what is now the southern part of Ishikawa Prefecture) from 1583. Kanazawa Castle, itself has had a difficult history.
Kanazawa Castle was begun by Maeda Toshiie (1538-1599), the man promoted to feudal lord of the area by Oda Nobunaga, and completed by his son Toshinaga.
Burnt down on a number of occasions, only the superb Ishikawa Gate and the Sanjikken Nagaya, samurai warehouse survive from the original construction of Kanazawa Castle.
As with Kumamoto Castle in western Kyushu, a 2001 reconstruction program carried out by Sumitomo Corp. has restored the huge Gojikken Nagaya storehouse and arsenal and the Hishi-yagura and Hashizumemon Tsuzuki-yagura watchtowers adjoining the storehouse to their original state.
Gojikken Nagaya means literally "the long building of fifty ken," a ken being an ancient measurement equal to about 1.8m, making the building about 90m in length.
Traditional construction methods were employed in the renovation from the original, existing building plans of Kanazawa Castle. Traditional carpenters from Kyoto were brought in to teach the local craftsmen in the old techniques. Modern methods including the use of cranes, however, were used to speed up the job!
Kanazawa Castle is set in 9 hectares of park with many of the original walls and moats still in evidence. The grounds served as an Imperial Army base during World War II and were the campus of Kanazawa University until the university moved to a new site in 1995.
The Ishikawa Gate (Ishikawa-mon) is original and dates from 1788. There are holes in the structure (ishiotoshi) for hurling stones at would-be attackers.
Address, timetable & access
Phone+81 (0)76 234 3800
Timetable7 am-6 pm March 1-October 15; 8 am-4.30 pm October 16-end of February (same as Kenrokuen)
Price300 JPY. Entry to the garden is free.
AccessKanazawa Castle is a 20-25 minute walk south east of Kanazawa Station or there are loop buses (200 yen; 500 yen day pass) from the station.