Wakayama: Wakayama Castle

Located in Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture in Japan, Wakayama Castle (和歌山城 Wakayama-jō) is the symbol of the city and its people.

The castle's history started when Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered his younger brother Hidenaga to build a castle on Mt. Okayama (now known as Mt. Torafuso) in 1585. When the castle was finished, Hidenaga stationed Kuwayama Shigeharu to the castle. In 1619, Tokugawa Ieyasu's 10th child Yorinobu became lord of the castle. From that point on, the castle was ruled by other Tokugawa lords until the Meiji Restoration. 
A map of the castle grounds
Up close and personal
Wakayama Castle consists of a series of interconnected buildings surrounding a central courtyard. The main, three tiered castle tower is connected to an interconnecting corridors, the Tenshunino-man (Camphor Wood Gate), the cookery and a small tower and a watchtower. 
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The castle, like all man-made structures, also faced the wrath of Mother Nature and man himself. In 1846, the castle tower was struck by lightning and burnt down. It was rebuilt in 1850. The castle was then destroyed during aerial bombing during World War II. It was rebuilt again in 1958, this time using modern construction engineering to restore its original appearance. Today, Wakayama Castle is a government-designated Historical Site.

Solo trip? No problem!
Ninja mode!
A view of Wakayama City from the top floor of the castle
I visited Wakayama Castle during my solo backpacking adventure to Wakayama during the eight day of our 27-day stay in Japan. I would never forget the time when I walked a good 2 kilometers (probably) from Wakayama Station to the castle complex. Some would say that it was a foolish decision but heck I enjoyed every second of it. i even got a chance to visit the post office and bought some postal stamps. 

What I like about the castle complex aside from the castle itself are the following:
Ichinohashi bridge and Otegomon gate
Camphor Tree (Natural Monument)
A peacock as seen from the Zoo of Wakayama Park
Okaguchimon gate (Important Cultural Property)
Castle Tower

Ohashi Roka Bridge
Nishinomaru Teien Garden
Wear this for free @ Wakayama Tourist Information
West Moat
Oimawashimon Gate
Getting there:

Picture from http://www.wakayamakanko.com/
From Kansai Airport, ride the JR line (Rapid service) going to Wakayama Station, you would have to transfer from Hineno Station though. It would probably take about 35-40 minutes. Another way to reach the castle from the airport is by bus which would bring you to Wakayama Downtown.

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