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Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle

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Hiroshima Castle History, Images and Latest News

Mori Terumoto, one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s council of Five Elders, established Hiroshima castle in 1589 at the delta of the Otagawa river. There was no Hiroshima city or town at the time, and the area was called Gokamura, meaning ‘five villages.’ Beginning in 1591, Mori governed nine provinces from this castle, including much of what is now Shimane, Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama and Hiroshima Prefectures.

When construction on the castle began, Gokamura was renamed Hiroshima, as a more impressive name was called for. “Hiro” was taken from Oe no Hiromoto, an ancestor of the Mōri family, and “Shima” was taken from Fukushima Motonaga who helped Mōri Terumoto choose the castle site. Some accounts state that the name ‘Hiroshima’, meaning literally ‘wide island’, comes from the existence of several large islands in the delta of the Otagawa, near the castle’s site.

Following the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Mōri was forced out of the castle, retreating to Hagi in today’s Yamaguchi prefecture. Fukushima Masanori became the lord of Aki and Bingo provinces (which today comprise Hiroshima prefecture, and of Hiroshima castle). However, the new Tokugawa shogunate forbade any castle construction without permission from Edo; this was part of how the shogunate kept the daimyō from gaining power and overthrowing the shogunate. When Fukushima repaired the castle following a flood in 1619, he was dispatched to Kawanakajima in today’s Nagano prefecture. Asano Nagaakira became lord of the castle.

From 1619 until the abolition of the feudal system during the Meiji Restoration (1869), the Asano family were lords of Aki and Bingo provinces.
After the Meiji Restoration, the castle came to serve as a military facility, and the Imperial General Headquarters was based there during the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894-1895. The foundations of several of the GHQ outbuildings, just a few hundred paces from the castle’s main tower, remain today.

The castle was destroyed in the atomic bomb blast of August 6, 1945. The present tower, constructed largely of concrete, was completed in 1958.

Hiroshima Castle, sometimes called Carp Castle, is five stories tall and its grounds are surrounded by a moat. There is a shrine on the grounds, as well as one main gate. Hiroshima developed as a castle town, whereby the castle was both the physical center of the city and the source of its prosperity.


Built in 1589 by the powerful feudal lord Mori Terumoto, Hiroshima Castle was an important seat of power in Western Japan. It was spared the destruction that many other castles met during the Meiji Restoration, and survived into the modern era. Unfortunately, like the rest of the city, Hiroshima Castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945.

Rebuilt after the war, Hiroshima Castle’s wooden exterior makes it a reconstruction with a considerable semblance of authenticity. Inside the castle is a small but informative museum on Hiroshima’s history, Hiroshima Castle, and Japanese castles in general.

Comments ( 6 )
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Date: Apr 11, 2009 10:39:54
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Lord Tintagel of Lochaber
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Date: Jan 28, 2009 02:07:48
Way things are going, we might all be living in Castles again :-)
Comment By: hamptonbeach
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Date: May 31, 2008 06:49:10
5 stars!!!
Comment By: SpeedX55
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Date: May 24, 2007 23:17:41
Very nice. I like the video.
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