Wakayama Castle is a place which is rich in beauty and important in history
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
When people think about Japan then images of Kyoto, Tokyo, and Nara, spring to mind and obviously these places in Japan are rich in history and culture, In Kyoto and Nara you can easily envisage ancient Japan and the culture of both places which shaped the future of this fascinating and historical nation.
However, like all nations, you will have many hidden gems and Wakayama Castle is one of these hidden gems and the same applies to Wakayama prefecture. Therefore, if you visit the Kansai region I recommend a visit to this beautiful castle and the surrounding park and other special areas within the walls of this castle.
In truth, Wakayama itself is a fantastic holiday destination because you have the stunning beauty of Koyasan which can rival any place in Japan when it comes to natural beauty, culture, history, and an amazing mountain landscape.
Also, Shirahama and the landscape by the sea is very beautiful and from late April to October you have many places to either swim or paddle at your own pleasure. The beaches are long and you have many tourist destinations to visit and you can also find tranquility in Shirahama.
Nachi-no-taki Falls (Nachi Waterfall) and Nachi-Katsuura (Nachikatsuura) are two other beautiful places to visit in Wakayama and the list could easily be added. In both places the scenery is exquisite and you can feel the pace of a different Japan.
Wakayama provides a huge variety of places to visit and each place is special for being so different and unique. After all, if you are a beach person then Shirahama and the stunning scenery is a place for you. However, if you like culture and history then Koyasan and Wakayama Castle must be on your list of places to visit.
Also, remember that Wakayama is near to Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara; therefore, it is located in a very dynamic part of Japan. Yes, Koyasan and Shirahama are a little far from Osaka but near enough to visit or if time permits, then to stay in this stunning prefecture and make the most of the diversity which is on offer.
I will focus on Wakayama Castle and why this place is a little gem amongst the many gems that can be found throughout Japan.
Wakayama Castle leads directly to two very important leaders in Japanese history because Hideyoshi Toyotomi gave the order for his brother, Hidenaga Toyotomi, to construct the castle of Wakayama in 1585. The other major leader, Ieyasu Tokugawa, dispatched Yorinobu to Wakayama City and Yorinobu, his tenth son, developed the castle and region to an even higher level.
Under Yorinobu the castle became the most important Western Fortress for the Tokugawa bakufu. This signaled a prosperous future for Wakayama during the Edo period and while it is true, that Shigeharu Kuwayama in 1586 and Yoshinaga Asano after the Battle of Sekigahara, both developed the castle of Wakayama.
It is true to say that Yorinobu laid the foundation stone for the importance of Wakayama Castle in Japanese history with regards to being a strategic area for the Tokugawa bakufu.
The geographic landscape of the castle was utilized with Wakayama Castle being built at the peak of Mountain Torafusu. Also, the castle is very close to the sea and you can see mountains in the near distance. Therefore, the landscape and geographic reality enabled this castle to be an important place within the Tokugawa bakufu.
The main places to visit within the foundations of Wakayama Castle include the Honmaru Palace; Donjon; Ohashi Rokka Bridge; Ninomaru; Otemon Gate; Okaguchimon Gate; Minaminomaru; and other places within the walls of the castle complex.
The Honmaru Palace from a distance may not look so large but once you enter this splendid building then you will soon understand the vastness of the area. This applies to the grounds of the Honmaru Palace and the stunning view which it provides from the top of the building.
Wakayama Castle provides a museum within the grounds and you can learn a lot about the rich history of this fascinating castle and how it helped the Tokugawa bakufu.
If you have never been to Japan before or you are visiting the Kansai region for the first time or if you are Japanese and have never travelled to this part of Japan; then I recommend Wakayama Castle because of its rich history and the beauty of this castle is a wonder to behold.
If you are lucky and have a full week to stay in Wakayama or longer; then Koyasan, Shirahama, Nachi-no-taki Falls, Nachikatsuura, Kumano jinga, and other places of stunning beauty must enter your list of places to visit.
Wakayama is a very beautiful prefecture and it is located in a very vibrant part of Japan. Indeed, the diversity of this part of Japan can be deemed to be “the heart of Japan” because Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, and Oaska respectively, are very close and each place is rich for different factors and Osaka provides a mega economic engine.
http://www.nk-kumano.com/ (Nachi Katsuura)
http://www.kumano-experience.com/01/en/ (Kumano Experience)
http://farstrider.net/Japan/Castles/Wakayamajo.htm (Wakayama Castle)