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Imabari Castle

One of the two mizujiro, or sea castles of Shikoku.

Imabari Castle

Imabari Castle is classified as a flatland castle. In the pre-modern age, it lay within the borders of Iyo Province. It was in use from 1602 to 1873. This castle, along with Takamatsu, are the two mizujiro, or sea castles of Shikoku.

Imabari’s most distinctive feature is a wide moat fed by seawater from the nearby port. In the moat, you can see large seawater fish swimming and jumping, and watch the water level rise with the tide. The moat averages 60 m across, neutralizing the effects of arrows and the firearms of the time. The walls, which remain largely unchanged from the Edo period, are an attractive patchwork of various types of coloured stone.

Imabari-Castle-view

The tenshu and yagura (watchtowers) house an excellent collection of armour, weapons, and artifacts related to samurai life and culture. The view from the top of the tenshu is also magnificent, encompassing the Kurushima Strait and its bridge and an expanse of the Seto Inland Sea on one side, and Mt. Takanawa on the other. The castle grounds are shared by a large and beautiful shrine, some fine statuary including Takatora on horseback, and a wartime air raid siren on an elegant plinth.

Imabari Castle was built by Todo Takatora, a local daimyo and renowned designer of castles. He’s known to have had a hand in the design of several of the castles of Shikoku. At that time, the seat of government was Kokufu Castle on Mt. Karako to the south of the current Imabari Castle. Takatora considered the site unsuitable, and abolished Kokufu Castle in favour of the current site.

Imabari-Castle-lacquer-fish

In 1635, the Imabari Domain and castle were given to Matsudaira Sadafusa, nephew of Tokugawa Ieyasu. He and his descendants ruled the domain for the duration of the Edo period. In the Meiji period, the government had all of the buildings associated with the castle destroyed. In 1980, Imabari City rebuilt the tenshu (keep) in concrete, and since then, various other buildings have been recreated using authentic materials and techniques.

Information

Name in Japanese: 今治城

Pronunciation: imabari jō

Address: Toricho 3-1-3, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036

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