Discovering Hiroshima Castle aka Carp Castle or Rijo Castle
From the brochure of the castle, I got to learned that the castle is also know with a different name. Hirsohima Castle is also famous as Carp Castle or Rijo Castle in Japanese. The area where the castle was built known to be Koi-no-ura (Koi Sea Shore) and “Koi” means Carp in Japanese. Good to know the origin of the castle name.
After strolling around Peace Memorial Park, we targeted other parts of the downtown but because most of the places to see are museums which require more time, we ended ourselves exploring the Hiroshima Castle. Before reaching the castle we passed Hiroshima Museum of Art. Then we crossed the underground walkway to the castle.
And not far from the street where we emerge from the underground walkway, we saw the Second Compound or Ninomaru of the castle where the Main Gate and surrounded Turrets are located. We walked towards the said gate. Before we crossed the Gate Bridge to the Main Gate, we stopped for few photo shots moment.
Ninomaru (Second Compound)
Bridge Gate, Main Gate and Turrets (Yagura)
Moats that surrounds the castle from the Gate Bridge
Omotegomon (Main Gate)
Hira-Yagura (One-Layer Turret)
We crossed the bridge and entered the Main Gate. We walked a bit towards the middle of the compound and I looked around and observed. I saw a door located at the corner, part of Hall Turret (Tamon-Yagura) and I walked and climbed towards it. My family followed me and we took off our shoes then put it on the shoe cabinet available near the door. Next, we stroll the Hall Turret and there we saw different exhibits. At the end of Hall Turret is Taiko-Yagura (Two-layer Turret) where the drum at the second part and used before for Samurai sally out.
Main Entrance and Hira-Yagura (One Story Turret) captured from inside of Ninomaru
One of the drums at Taiko-Yagura (Two-Layer Turret) used for signals
After looking around at Taiko-Yagura and Tamon-Yagura, we walked back and reached inside the Hira-Yagura and the top of the main gate.
Inside the Ninomaru Omote Gate (the top layer of Main Gate)
Inside Hira-Yagura (One-layer Turret)
Ruins of Ninomaru (basepoint to defend the gateway of the castle)
Moats that surrounds the Castle. Scenery after crossing the walkway towards Main Compound (Honmaru)
Moats that surrounds the Castle. Scenery while leaving the castle ground
Honmaru (Main Compound)
When we reached the Main Compound of the castle, the first thing we saw was Hiroshima Gokoku Jinja Shrine where we saw another stone gate similar to what we saw in Miyajima Island. The original shrine has already built in two locations, the shrine was also destroyed by atomic bomb. When the decided to rebuild it, it was rebuilt after the war within the ground of Hiroshima Castle. As per history, the purpose of building the shrine is to mourn the Hiroshima-Han victims during the Boshin War (Japanese Civil War).
Photos of Hiroshima Gokoku Jina Shrine
We moved forward nearing the castle tower, but before we reach the tower itself, we have other stuff that we saw within the ground of Hiroshima Castle. We found the location of ruins of Hiroshima Imperial Military Headquarters. After reading the brochures in my hand, I’ve got to understand, why Hiroshima was possibly the main target of atomic bomb attack, its because of the castle ground was a military base. And I also learned that the base was also use to infiltrate the plan of Allied forces during World War II, in a war like that, a military base can be a main target for attack.
Hiroshima Imperial Military Headquarters Ruins
At the ground, we also found a castle ground map that looks like inscribe in a metal piece and put in a stone.
Hiroshima Castle ground map
The original foundation stones where the Castle Tower was built
As we walked towards the castle, I got more excited, I knew it was not the original tower, because like other buildings in Hiroshima City, it was also destroyed during the atomic bomb attack. The castle location is in the corner most of the ground and in an upper layer that we need to climb few steps of the stairs. The restored castle tower shows what its look before the second world war, thus we enjoyed the photos outside before we decided to enter the tower. The castle tower now served as museum before the war. We paid the entrance fee and ready to explore the building. At first, I never realized how many floors the castle has and when we were strolling around it, I just learned that it has 5 floors. All floors has exhibits and I cannot really take photos because there’s portion of the exhibit not allowed to take shots. But as far as I remembered, I still sneaked some shots inside the museum thought it was not too many unlike other museums where photography is allowed.
Castle Tower (now a museum)
Each floor showcases different exhibits that portrays Hiroshima. At the first floor, there’s displays about Ancient Hiroshima, Castle History, its government, life inside the castle, its defense and even different castles in the world can be seen. At the second floor, the exhibits are more of castle town life and culture where it includes samurai versus townsfolk lifestyle. In the third floor, we saw different weapons and armors displays. The fourth floor currently displayed that time has a theme of life and progress of Hiroshima Castle Town.
Some Exhibits displayed inside Hiroshima Castle Tower
We reached the final floor or fifth floor which called as Observation Platform. We stayed a bit in the floor because it offers a scenic views that surround the castle in many ways. Because the castle ground surrounded by trees and green plants and moats, I can sense how Japanese has great pride in their castle. Aside from having yagura or turrets that protects the castle grounds, there is moats that prevents the invaders to reach the castle easily. If you are a strategist, it is a great place as well for military bases. And that’s what happened to Hiroshima Castle.
Scenic snapshots that surrounds the castle ground and the moats from Castle Tower Observation Deck