【Special Features】Amagasaki Castle A Thorough Analysis

Amagasaki Castle A Thorough Analysis

Introducing the new Amagasaki Castle and the original Amagasaki Castle constructed 400 years ago.
Once you read this, you’ll become an expert on Amagasaki Castle!

  • Since 1617The Original Amagasaki Castle
  • Reborn 2019New Amagasaki Castle

Why was the original Amagasaki Castle constructed?

The Tokugawa Shogunate, who had prevailed over the Toyotomi clan in the Summer Siege of Osaka in 1615, took direct control of Osaka in 1619. Osaka Castle served as the political and military base of Western Japan. At that time, however, the various regions of Western Japan, including Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu, were under the control of formerly hostile outside daimyo until the Battle of Sekigahara, so it became necessary to create a system to defend Osaka in the event of an emergency in Western Japan. It was only natural that the Shogunate would want to consolidate Amagasaki — which was close to Osaka and had long served as a transportation hub — by appointing Shogunate insiders. So, Toda Ujikane was chosen as first Lord of Amagasaki Castle. Toda built Amagasaki Castle as a defensive barrier for Western Osaka. Judging from the exceptional workmanship of Amagasaki Castle, Ujikane appears to have become a master of castle construction. This achievement contributed to his eventual appointment as a general magistrate during reconstruction of Osaka Castle.

A castle too large for a daimyo receiving a tribute of only 50,000 koku of rice

This splendid castle comprised a four-story main tower along with Sannomaru that was about 3.5 times the scale of Koshien Stadium. It was as tall as an 8 or 9-story condominium. On a clear day, the castle was visible from as far away as Takarazuka. In fact, Hyogo Prefecture boasts only two castles with the main tower: Himeji Castle and Amagasaki Castle. Even though the tower foundation had been constructed, the Shogunate did not permit a castle to exceed a certain height. The imposing appearance of this castle rising on the shoreline would have surely impressed all visitors.

Was Amagasaki wealthy as a castle town?

The castle town was vast, extending to the east and west from the east side of present-day Hanshin Deyashiki Station to the west side of Daimotsu Station. At the beginning of the Amagasaki domain fiefdom, the Amagasaki domain territory was roughly equivalent to the area extending from the current city of Amagasaki to the coastal area of Suma-ku in Kobe. The town contained many sake breweries, and more than 10,000 koku (1 koku = about 180 liters) of sake were brewed here, the same volume as produced by the noted sake-producing Ikeda district in Settsu Province. Many fishermen lived in Tsukiji Town near the castle, and a fish market thrived in Nakazaike Town until the Taisho era. The Amagasaki domain fiefdom was located in a region rich in commodity crops such as canola and cotton. This was one of the wealthiest domain territories until the land extending from Hyogonotsu (currently Kobe Port) to Nishinomiya was confiscated.

5FMy Town Observatory Zone

A description of Amagasaki as a castle town is displayed in the main castle tower. Use the tablet terminal to see how the castle town operated. From the observatory room, you can compare the castle town with the current scenery.


4FGallery Zone

This gallery showcases the works of Ogihara Issei, a painter of castles who was born in Amagasaki. His deep love of castles is reflected in his work, which was selected to appear on a hand towel representing one of the top 100 castles of Japan.


3FImpersonator Experience Zone

Visitors can take a commemorative photo here. Become a princess, samurai or the Lord of Amagasaki Castle by donning a rental costume in a space lined with tatami mats.


2FAmagasaki Castle Zone

Immerse yourself in the Amagasaki Castle Town by viewing the virtual reality scene displayed on a 10-meter-wide screen. The masterful images take you on a journey back in time to Amagasaki as it was in those days. Several exhibits enable you to learn with your hands, such as feeling the weight of a matchlock gun and trying out a sword game.


1FAmagasaki Town Walking Zone

Near the entrance, castle donation nameplates revealing the thoughts of many are on display. Amagasaki’s introductory video highlights local history and sightseeing attractions focused on Amagasaki Castle. Be sure to take a stroll through the town of Amagasaki.

*Artist’s illustrations

Amagasaki Castle

  • 27 Kitajonai, Amagasaki
  • Admission Fee: Adults and university students: 500 yen; Senior high school and younger students: 250 yen
  • 09:00–17:00 (no admission after 16:30)
  • Closed Mondays (or next day when Monday is public holiday) and December 29–January 2

Interesting Castle Stories

“I’ll protect this important castle!”
Aoyama Yoshitoshi, the Third-generation Lord

Aoyama Yoshitoshi was the lord who best embodied the “the defensive role of the Amagasaki domain in the west.” He traveled to Osaka to consult with a cousin, the keeper of Osaka Castle. He retained ninjas (secret agents of the samurai) to explore the concerns of adjacent domains such as Settsu and Harima. He loved the main tower of Amagasaki Castle and would sometimes become emotional as he admired it in the morning.

Supporting the Establishment of the
Japanese Red Cross Society
Matsudaira Tadaoki, the Last Lord

Lord Matsudaira Tadaoki quickly agreed to the establishment of Hakuaisha, the predecessor of the Japanese Red Cross Society. He offered his mansion to the provisional office, and went to Nagasaki during the Satsuma Rebellion to provide nursing care. He became a feudal lord at a young age, and was likely compelled to keep his own counsel and help society because he was responsible for his domain under his father’s supervision. He remained active after the restoration.

Amagasaki Castle
as a symbol of peace

This castle was constructed for war, but it never actually saw battle. Because the new castle is clearly never intended to be used for war, we think of Amagasaki Castle as a place not intended to hurt people. We are content to know that the castle is becoming a place that offers opportunities for learning local history.

The people of Amagasaki
are excited about the construction of their castle.

Amagasaki has an active civic life.
Its residents are eager and motivated to enliven their beloved town with a new landmark.
We look forward to seeing you.

Volunteer litter collectors

By holding tongs designed to resemble a Japanese sword with hilt and scabbard, our volunteer litter collectors are working to beautify our town. Let’s bring litter to justice together!

Gasakingα

The large monster of Amagasaki was created from the passions of Sanwa Ichiba Shopping Street. The shopkeepers mistakenly awakened the creature from the dark underworld of the Sanwa Ichiba Shopping Street, where it had slept for tens of thousands of years. It simply kicked out the shutters and emerged!