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The prototype of the castle was built here by the head of a powerful family clan called the Ashinas about 600 years ago. In 1591 Ujisato Gamō became lord of the area, and built a seven storey tower. He was also the one who named it “Tsuruga-jō”. But, as the result of a big earthquake in 1611, the castle tower was damaged, and began to lean. In 1627, Yoshiaki Katō became the new lord of the region, and repaired the tower. He also made it five stories. (Aizu was a location central in importance to the control of Eastern Japan, and many famous generals from all over the country came and ruled the area.) During the Edo Period (1600—1867), Japan was controlled by the Tokugawa Shogunate. When the younger brother of the third Tokugawa Shogun became head of the Aizu clan, close relations developed between the clan and shogunate. As a result, though many clans severed their ties to the Tokugawas during the Meiji Restoration, the Aizu clan came to their aid and fought to the last as samurai against the Meiji governmental forces (1868) at the latter half of the Edo Period. This battle between the Meiji governmental forces and samurai is called the Boshin War. Using the latest weapons, the Meiji governmental forces sieged the castle and inflicted suffering on the 3000 people taking refuge inside. The Aizu clan resisted the ruthless attack for a month, but was finally defeated, and proclaimed an end to the samurai age. After this, on orders from the Meiji government, the castle was destroyed and all that was left was its stone walls. The castle was first inspected for reconstruction in 1965 as a result of local enthusiasm to rebuild it. A picture of the castle in the latter half of the 19th century—said to have been taken by a Frenchman—was used in consultation for the restoration.

In 1590, Ujisato Gamō became lord of the Aizu region. He was very learned in matters concerning tea ceremony. At the time, Rikyū Sen—who was responsible for the establishment of what is known today as the tea ceremony—had 7 disciples, and Lord Gamō was the most distinguished among them. But, in 1591 he incurred the wrath of Hideyoshi Toyotomi—who controlled the nation—and was ordered to commit ritual suicide. Fearing Lord Toyotomi’s wrath would extend to include the Sen family’s children, Lord Gamō provided sanctuary for Rikyū’s son Shōan in the Aizu Region. He then worked to ensure Lord Toyotomi’s forgiveness. As a result, Shōan was forgiven and allowed to return to Kyoto. It was Shōan’s grandsons who later founded the Mushakojisenke, Omotesenke, and Urasenke schools of tea ceremony and tea ceremony culture—loved the world over—began to flourish.


Aizu-Wakamatsu City Tourism Bureau
1-1 Outemachi,Aizu-Wakamatsu City,Fukushima,965-0873 Japan〒965-0873
TEL:0242-23-8000 FAX:0242-23-9000

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