Wakayama Castle, locates in Wakayama Prefecture south of Osaka, was first built on the orders of warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1585 and prospered as a residence for the feudal lord of the House of Kishu (one of the three great houses of Tokugawa). The current castle was rebuilt in 1957, but it retains the same appearance as it had in the Edo period. Also, the grounds contain other restored features such as the Ohashi Roka Bridge , Nishinomaru Teien Garden (A designated place of scenic beauty) , and the Koshoan teahouse , a traditional Japanese teahouse where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea.
The main entrance gate of Wakayama Castle is called the Otemon Gate, which was rebuilt in 1989. Only the Okaguchi Gate and the stone walls remain from the original castle. Wakayama Castle is atop a small hill (Torafusu 49 meters) and has curved corners to fit the shape of the contours. The pleasant castle grounds are now a public park and modern-day Wakayama’s most popular spot for cherry blossom viewing (hanami) and picnics in spring. The reconstructed tower (donjon) has exhibits of samurai weaponry and armor from the Edo Period of Japan’s history. There are good views from the tower over the town and out as far as the sea and ferry port to Shikoku.
Within Wakayama Castle grounds is the Nishi-no-Maru Garden (Momijidani) built by Yorinobu Tokugawa in the early 17th century. The garden has a pleasant pond, a waterfall and is known for its autumn leaves. The garden was adjoined the Nishi-no-Maru palace of the domain lord. South of the castle park is the impressively-designed Wakayama Museum of Modern Art with a fair collection of both Japanese and Western contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Mark Rothko and George Segal.
Design of Wakayama Castle
The tallest part of Wakayama Castle is the tenshukaku, or castle tower, which is comprised of the main tower and three smaller towers. All of the towers are connected by a corridor. When viewed from above, it forms a rectangular shape.
This design is known as renritsushiki tenshukaku, which is rare and unique type of castle construction in Japan. There are only a handful of other castles constructed in this manner, including Himeji Castle, Matsuyama Castle, and Takatori Castle in Nara Prefecture. These castles are must-visits for castle enthusiasts.
Place to visit in Wakayama Castle
1. Castle Tower
2. Nishinomaru Teien Garden and Tea House
3. Ohashi Roka Bridge
4. Wakayama Castle Park Zoo
5. Wakayama Historical Center
6. Wakayama City Hall
Address: 3 Ichiban-cho Wakayama 640-8511
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:30 (Last admission at 17:00)
Admission: 350 yen
Ease of Access
Wakayama Castle is a 20 minute walk from JR Wakayama Station or a 10 minute walk from Nankai Wakayami-shi Station. There are buses from both places to Wakayama Castle Park entrance. Get off the bus at Koen-mae.