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Home>Visiting Places Associated with Sengoku>Wakayama-jo Castle

The Sengoku conqueror, Tokugawa Ieyasu ended a world of warfare

The Siege of Osaka ended the turbulent times, ushering in the Edo period when Ieyasu brought peace to the land.
Wakayama prospered as a foothold for the western provinces and the Kishu Tokugawa Family began their rule.

Ieyasu, who brought down the Toyotomi Clan in the Summer Siege of Osaka, died in 1616 after solidifying the shogunate rule. To strengthen feudal lord control, in 1619 the 2nd shogun, Hidetada forcefully relocated Tokugawa Yorinobu (10th son of Ieyasu) to the Kishu Domain, which had been ruled by the Asano Clan, and turned it into a foothold for the western provinces. That was the beginning of the Kishu Tokugawa Family, along with two other Tokugawa Families in Owari and Mito.

Wakayama-jo CastleIn a later generation the 5th lord of the Kishu Domain, Yoshimune became The 8th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1716.

  • The famous castle is perched atop Mt. Torafusu in the heart of Wakayama City.
One of the three houses of Tokugawa, it had status as the castle of the Kishu Tokugawa Family (worth 555,000 koku of rice). It is a modern castle established by the Toyotomi Family and constructed by Todo Takatora. Traces of changes made in different periods are visible in features such as the construction of the stone wall.  At the time of the Siege of Osaka, it was the castle of the Asano Clan.

The view from the castle tower.

Ninja welcome visitors touring the castle in the park.

1. Nishinomaru-teien Garden (The Garden of Maple Valley)

This national-designated site of scenic beauty is a castle garden created in the early Edo period. It is designed in a style featuring a path around a pond, and frequently utilizes Kishu blue stone (chlorite schist) as standing stones, making use of the valley topography. Visitors can enjoy a cup of tea (with a Japanese sweet) for 460 yen in the tearoom, Koshoan located in the garden. Entry into the garden is free.

9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Koshoan closes at 4:30 p.m.) The garden is closed December 29th–31st and the tearoom is closed December 29th–January 3rd.

2. Ohashi-roka Bridge

This bridge was built in the Tokugawa rule so that the feudal lord, advisers, and female servants could pass between Ninomaru (outer keep) and Nishinomaru (west wing). It was constructed with walls and a roof so that movements could not be viewed from the outside. The slanting bridge, a rarity in Japan, was restored in 2006. Visitors may pass over the bridge free of charge. 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; closed December 29th–January 3rd

3. Wakayama-jo Castle Tower

The castle tower is a museum that exhibits numerous valuable articles related to the Tokugawa Family, such as armor, swords, and a kokuin-jo (an official letter by a daimyo with a black seal) from Yoshimune. Since September 2015, visitors have been allowed to take photographs (excluding some exhibit items). This is the spot you must visit.

4. Okaguchi-mon Gate

This watchtower gate is located on the southeast of the castle base and has been designated an important cultural property. It still stands, having escaped the ravages of war damage. When the castle was constructed, it functioned as the front gate, but during Asano’s rule the front gate was switched to the direction of Ichinohashi Bridge. The gate that currently stands was built in 1621 during the Tokugawa rule.

Location: 3 Ichiban-cho, Wakayama-shi (in Wakayama Park)
TEL: 073-422-8979
Visitors are free to walk around/No entrance fee to the park
*Entrance Fee (Castle Tower only): 410 yen for adults; 200 yen for elementary/junior high school students (Castle Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; closed December 29th–31st)
Access: Approx. 10 min. by bus from JR “Wakayama Station;” get off at “Shiyakusho-mae;” or, 10 min. on foot from Nankai Electric Railway “Wakayamashi Station”

Wakayama History Museum

Opened in September 2015, this history museum is located in Wakayama Park. On the 1st floor is an open terrace with Japanese decor, a souvenir shop offering local products, and Wakayama City Tourist Information. The Historical Exhibit Room on the 2nd floor displays historical and cultural pieces from Wakayama-jo Castle, including a Tokugawa Family gold seal and structural drawings of the castle.
It also introduces great historic figures from Wakayama such as Munemitsu Mutsu.

 

Try on handcrafted armor for free

Tourist Information on the 1st floor also lets visitors try on handcrafted armor for free, which is a fun chance for a commemorative photograph.

2nd-floor exhibit room

The 2nd floor is an exhibit room. A compellingly impressive video brings to life Wakayama-jo Castle in the late Edo period through 3D computer graphics and recreates in detail what the castle looked like, including the ladies chambers that have been lost.

Location: 3 Ichiban-cho, Wakayama-shi (in Wakayama Park)
TEL: 073-435-1044
The open terrace/souvenir shop are open from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Tourist Information is open from 8:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m.; the Historical Exhibit Room is open from 9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Closed: December 29th–31st
Museum Entrance Fee: Free
*Entrance Fee (Historical Exhibit Room only): 100 yen for high school students and older; free for junior high school students and younger
Language: Japanese and English


Download the pamphlet (*Japanese only)

Opening a map of this area in the GoogleMap