Relax and Enjoy the Scenery Among Castle Ruins
Once upon a time, a giant castle dominated the Morioka skyline. It stood as a symbol of power and authority for the Morioka clan, who chose this location as their base. Today, the castle may no longer be there, but its memory lives on in the form of a beautiful park. Morioka Castle Park sits atop the hill where the castle once stood, offering visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery among the castle ruins.
How to Get There
Morioka Castle is easily accessible by bus or taxi from JR Morioka Station. If you prefer to take public transportation, the Morioka City Loop Bus stops at Morioka Joato Koen, which is just a 10-minute ride from Morioka Station. Alternatively, you can choose to walk to the park, which takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, you will be able to reach Morioka Castle Park conveniently.
To understand the significance of Morioka Castle, it is important to know a few key facts about its history. Construction of the castle began in 1597 and was completed in 1633. For over 200 years, the castle served as a dominant force in the city, overseeing trade and commerce in the region. However, in 1874, most of the buildings were demolished by the Meiji government as part of their efforts to consolidate power.
Emperors, Shoguns, and Warlords
The Morioka clan built the castle around a small hill where two rivers meet. This strategic location made it an important center for trade and commerce, allowing the clan to exert control over the region. Unlike other castles in the Tohoku region, Morioka Castle’s stone walls were constructed using granite mined from the surrounding area. Today, these stone walls and a storehouse are all that remain of the once-mighty castle.
After the Boshin War ended in 1871, the Meiji government abolished domains and removed castles in lands that had opposed their rule. Morioka Domain became Iwate Prefecture, and while Morioka Castle was spared from complete demolition, it suffered from neglect and was eventually torn down in 1874. Despite its demise, the memory of the castle lived on in the hearts of the people.
Death and Rebirth of a Castle Park
For thirty years after the castle’s demolition, the land lay vacant and forgotten. It wasn’t until park designer Yasuhei Nagaoka came along that the grounds were transformed into what is now known as Iwate Park. Since 1906, the park has been open to the public, offering a serene and picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy. The castle ruins became a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing, autumn leaf viewing, and even inspired poets such as Takuboku Ishikawa and Kenji Miyazawa.
Monuments dedicated to these two poets can be found within the castle grounds, serving as a testament to the enduring beauty and inspiration that Morioka Castle Park provides. Today, visitors can explore the park, take leisurely walks along the stone walls, and admire the remnants of a once-great castle. It is a place where history and nature come together, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the scenery in a serene and tranquil setting.
Recommended for You
If you’re planning a visit to Morioka, there are a few other attractions in the area that you might want to explore. One such attraction is Iwate Park, which encompasses the castle ruins and offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors. From strolling through the park’s gardens to enjoying a picnic by the river, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Iwate Park.
Another must-visit destination in Morioka is the city itself. Known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere, Morioka offers a unique blend of traditional and modern attractions. From historic sites such as Morioka Hachimangu Shrine to bustling shopping streets like Chuo-dori, there is plenty to see and do in this vibrant city.
Morioka Castle Park is a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the region. While the castle may be gone, its memory lives on in the form of a beautiful park that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery among the castle ruins. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply seeking a tranquil setting to unwind, Morioka Castle Park is a must-visit destination. So, take a stroll along the stone walls, admire the cherry blossoms in spring, or simply find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy the beauty of this historic site.
Address And Maps Location:
1-1-37 Uchimaru, Morioka-shi, Iwate-ken