A remote and ill-fated fortress built for warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Fushimi Castle, also known as Momoyama Castle, is located in a quiet, residential part of southern Kyoto. However, during the Warring States period, it was anything but quiet. Destroyed by an earthquake soon after it was first constructed, the fortress was later the site of a pitched battle and a mass ritual suicide.
The castle was originally built in the late 16th century by an army of 20,000 to 30,000 workers. It was a massive undertaking, with the construction lasting several years. The castle was meant to serve as a symbol of power and authority for Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a warlord who sought to unify japan under his rule.
Unfortunately, the castle’s fate was not a fortunate one. Just two years after its completion, an earthquake struck the region and destroyed much of the castle. This was a devastating blow to Hideyoshi and his ambitions, as the castle was meant to be a stronghold for his forces.
Despite the destruction, Hideyoshi was determined to rebuild the castle. However, his plans were cut short when he died in 1598. The castle was then taken over by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who emerged victorious in the Battle of Sekigahara and unified Japan.
When Ieyasu left the castle just before the battle, it was defended by Torii Mototada, a loyal samurai to Ieyasu. Mototada and his men fought valiantly, but they were eventually overwhelmed by the enemy forces. Rather than surrender, Mototada and his men chose to commit ritual suicide, staining the floors of the castle with their blood.
Legend has it that these blood-stained floors were later repurposed as ceilings in many temples in Kyoto, including Genkoan in the northwest. This serves as a grim reminder of the castle’s violent past and the sacrifices made by its defenders.
Today, Fushimi Castle is a modern replica that was built in 1964 near the original site. While it may not bear much resemblance to the original castle, it still stands as a testament to the history and culture of the region. Visitors can walk the grounds and admire the twin keeps from the outside, but access to the interior is limited.
One of the unique features of Fushimi Castle is its location. Unlike many other castles in Japan, which are situated on hilltops or surrounded by moats, Fushimi Castle is located in a residential area. This adds to its charm and makes it a peaceful and serene place to visit.
To get to Fushimi Castle, visitors can take the Kintetsu-Kyoto Line from Kyoto Station to Kintetsu-Tambabashi Station. From there, it is a 20-minute walk to the castle. The journey offers beautiful views of the surrounding area and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the history and atmosphere of the castle.
While Fushimi Castle may not be as well-known as some of the other castles in Japan, it is still a fascinating and important historical site. Its remote location and tragic history add to its allure, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and castle lovers alike.
In conclusion, Fushimi Castle is a remote and ill-fated fortress that was built for warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Warring States period. Despite being destroyed by an earthquake shortly after its completion, the castle played a significant role in Japanese history. It was the site of a mass ritual suicide and served as a symbol of power and authority. Today, visitors can explore the modern replica of Fushimi Castle and learn about its turbulent past. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply enjoy exploring unique and off-the-beaten-path destinations, Fushimi Castle is definitely worth a visit.
Address And Maps Location:
45 Okura Momoyama-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu