Nankaido / Wakayama

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  Wakayama Castle

Wakayama Castle

In your wanderings, you will encounter the capital of Wakayama Prefecture, Wakayama City, at the source of the Kinokawa River. The city dates its origins to 1585, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi had the castle built. Today, Wakayama City is the cultural and economic hub of a prefecture whose geographic location is ideal - situated at the northern end of the breathtaking Kii Peninsula and at the mouth of the Seto Naikai Inland Sea. You can reach Kansai International Airport in 30 minutes, Osaka by train in an hour, and both of the ancient cities of Nara and Kyoto within two hours.
Historic Wakayama Castle

It was Toyotomi Hideyoshi's brother Hidenaga who undertook the Wakayama Castle construction in 1585, but he never saw the completed fortress because he left the city. The first long-term occupant of the castle was Kuwayama Shigeharu, Hideyoshi's retainer, who arrived bringing with him 30,000 goku of rice (one goku is the equivalent of how much rice a person consumes over a year). During his 14-year residency, Shigeharu fortified the castle as the compound's centerpiece.

Switching loyalties from Hideyoshi to Tokugawa Ieyasu after the latter's victory at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Asano Yoshinaga became the new lord of the castle, bringing with him 376,000 goku of rice and developing the castle grounds, especially Ichinohashi Bridge, over his nearly 20-year residence.

Yoshinaga left Wakayama in 1619 and the prolific shogun Ieyasu sent Yorinobu (his 10th son!) to the castle with 555,000 goku of rice, and under Yorinobu's leadership and financial support Wakayama became the Tokugawa shogunate's key western fortress, expanding into the surrounding castle town and becoming the stable foundation of two and a half centuries of prosperity in Wakayama City.

Wakayama Castle GardenWakayama Castle "ISHIGAKI"



Castle location: At the peak of Mt. Torafusu, the tiger-shaped mountain.
Castle plan:
Eastern peak area - Living quarters
Western peak area - Castle tower complex. In the complex are the main tower, small tower, kitchen, turrets and gates, which form a secure rectangle when the Kusunoki Gate is closed.
Ninomaru: Main residence of the daimyo during the Tokugawa Era

The donjon was almost destroyed in 1846 by lightning. Although the daimyo did not normally allow any construction work on the castle exterior, once the Tokugawa clan head took up residence there, he consented to the walls being repaired in 1850.

The castle suffered tremendous damage from fire bombings in 1945 and after the war Wakayama citizens collected financial donations from private and public sources to rebuild their cherished city symbol. Made of ferro-concrete, the reconstruction was finished in 1958.



NinomaruThis was the daimyo's main residence and base of operations. The inner palace was separated into three sections and three turrets connected by a mud retaining wall enclosed the area.


Otemon Gate

Otemon GateThe Ichinohashi Gate, built at the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was the castle's main entryway and was renamed Otemon by the Tokogawa feudal lord in 1796. This impressive gate (along with the Ichinohashi Bridge) was rebuilt in 1983, long after its collapse in 1909.


Okaguchimon Gate

Okaguchimon GateThe Okaguchimon still stands in its original form. The castle's back entrance was constructed by Tokugawa Yorinobu and was designated an Important Cultural Property in 1957.

    Waka-no-UraRecognized by Emperor Shomu in 724, the beauty of this location earned it a place in the Manyoshu Collection as a place of exquisite beauty.
  Wakayama Marina City

Wakayama Marina CityThis area includes "Porto Europa", a theme park with a multicultural flavor, "Wakayama-kan" offers visitors a chance to experience Wakayama's vast natural environment, and fresh seafood can be had at the "Kuroshio Market". For more fun, try your luck at fishing sea bream and yellowtail. Fish all you want and then you can enjoy your catch right there on the premises, or have the cooks do your fish up for you to take home with you. And for the pleasure of young and old, men and women, why not take a dip in the "Kishu Kuroshio Hot Springs"?

Wakayama Marina City Tel: 073-448-0011

Porto Europa
The buildings of this theme park can be divided into three classifications: Spanish old castles, Italian fishery ports, and traditional French streets. The park has much to offer including attractions, rides, restaurants and events.
Porto Europe Porto Europe
  Kuroshio Market
The market is divided into the market, sales and eatery zones. The variety of fresh seafood available is plentiful, including everything from that flown in from all over the world through Kansai International Airport to that taken from around Wakayama. Groceries and special products from Wakayama are also for sale here. Visitors can cook their newly-bought produce and meats at the barbeque pits located on the grounds. Also, don't miss the cutting of the 100-kilogram tunas. Kuroshio Market
Kuroshio Market
  Kishu Kuroshio Hot Springs
    Kishu Kuroshio Hot SpringsNatural hot springs that emerged from a stratum formed some 100 million years ago and at an ocean depth of 1,500 meters are used here. This hot springs facility has an expansive main bath, outdoor hot spring and sauna.
Wakayama Visitors' Promotion Office Tel: 073-435-1234


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