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
Engyokaku
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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Comments

  1. This is a very interesting article. That castle looks worth a visit! I’ll keep the stats and history you shared in mind for my visit. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. This is an impressive castle with many things to do. I would visit it if I am in the area

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    Replies
    1. You should Alex. =) Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  3. Nice! One of the things with a castle visit is the ability for it to transport us into the times of its heydays. I liked the costume bit even thought its a tad touristy. The moat around the castle and the little bridges give it an isolated feel that a castle usually has. Its great that you chose to walk around the place! So much better. Did you actually find stamps of Wakayama?

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    1. Hi there KatchuTravels, yes I did get stamps in Wakayama and guess what? It's the castle series stamps. =) It is a perfect souvenir.

      I do agree that the costume is a bit touristy but then again, trying it out is free. =)

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  4. Although the map looks complex, the castle itself looks quiet simple and elegant. Love the unique Japanese architecture which is evident all over. Thanks for the directions, will be helpful for those seeking to reach here

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    1. I also admire its architecture. The map looks crowded due to the fact that there are lots of things to see in the castle vicinity which makes this place perfect to explore.

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  5. I love these scenic photos. This is such a beautiful castle with rich history. Can't believe it was built in 1800's and looks so preserved. I would love to visit this place!

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    1. Hi Ann! The people of Japan really take preservation seriously. Thanks for visiting my blog. =)

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  6. Ang gaganda talaga ng mga photos mo Neil. :) Wakayama Castle looks so interesting, imaging it stood the test of time and destructions--like the bombing and it was struck by a lightning. More of your Japan features please! :)

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  7. hi
    it looks like a very well maintained architecture and lot of effort has gone into making it popular with those who are interested in history , glad that u also included in detail how to reach out there . Is it a whole day visit or can it be clubbed with something else too ?

    rgds

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    Replies
    1. Hi there. Yes it can be part of a tour to several temples and attractions in the city. You can refer to the map with it. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. Can you tell me something about the Meiji restoration? I have read this word several times but want to know its meaning from a Japanese himself.
    I would also suggest that you please enlarge the images so that the majesty of this castle comes through. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Meiji Restoration was when the power to rule was given back to the Emperor under Emperor Meiji. The images are big enough. If you want to see the close up of the castle you can check out the other photos.

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