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Monday, August 20, 2007

Kanazawa Castle


Crossing the Ishikawa Bridge from the Kenrokuen Garden brings the visitor to one of Kanazawa's other top attractions Kanazawa Castle.

Kanazawa Castle

Formerly the seat of power of the powerful Maeda clan (the Maeda family were the hereditary feudal lords (daimyo) of the Kaga province from 1583) Kanazawa Castle has a chequered history.

Burnt down several times, only the impressive Ishikawa Gate and the Sanjikken Nagaya samurai dwelling house survive from the original construction. However as with Kumamoto Castle in Kyushu, a recent 2001 reconstruction program carried out by Sumitomo Corp. has restored the huge Gojikken Nagaya storehouse and arsenal and the Hishi-yagura and Hashizumemon Tsuzuki-yagura watchtowers adjoining the storehouse to their original state. Gojikken Nagaya means literally "the long building of fifty ken", a ken being an ancient measurement equal to about 1.8m, making the building about 90m in length.

Gojikken Nagaya, Kanazawa Castle

Traditional construction methods were employed in the renovation from the original, existing building plans. Traditional artisans from Kyoto were brought in to teach the local craftsmen in the old techniques. Modern methods such as the use of cranes however were employed to speed up the job!

Kanazawa Castle is set in 9 ha of grounds with many of the original walls and moats still in existence. The area served as an Imperial Army base during World War II and the grounds were the campus of Kanazawa University until the institution moved in 1995.
The extensive lawns in the park are often used for concerts and fashion shows with the castle as a spectacular backdrop.

Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle
1-1 Marunouchi
Tel: 076 234 3800

7am-6pm March 1-October 15
8am-4.30pm October 16-end of February
(same as Kenrokuen)

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