Sasayama Castle O-shoin: An Exquisite Wooden Architecture On Top Of A Stone Wall

The History

In 1598, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the warlord who ruled Japan at the time passed away. Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the prominent feudal lords, began to take over. Although Tokugawa won various conflicts both political and military, Toyotomi Hideyori, son of Hideyoshi, still held considerable power. So in 1609, Tokugawa built a castle in Sasayama, located close to Osaka, where Hideyori resided. 80,000 workers were gathered for the construction.

The o-shoin of the castle has been used for official ceremonies by the Sasayama han (domain) for 260 years after its completion. It was also used as an elementary school in the modern era. The building was lost to fire in 1944, and rebuilt in 2000, with the support of the Sasayama citizens. Ninomaru (the secondary enclosure of a castle) was also reconstructed in 2000.

The Architecture

The o-shoin has a semi-gabled roof, a style showing high status, with layers of shingles. There is a special vestibule at the north side, complete with a canopy adorned by a kara hafu (undulating gable). These features, along with the size, shows the formality of this building.

Jodan no ma (a room with a raised floor) was used by the lord of Sasayama han. It is decorated with chigai dana (staggered shelves for display), chodai gamae (artwork drawn on fusuma) and tsuke shoin (bay window), which are all the staples of shoin zukuri (a Japanese-style drawing room). The drawing on the wall in the back of o-yuka (raised floor), which is 6.9 meters wide, was converted from a byobu-e (painting on a folding screen) done by a famous artist in the early Edo Period. This room is alive with the atmosphere of the original building.

The o-shoin also displays a video showing the Sasayama Castle at the time of its construction, a model of the castle and various materials about the jokamachi (castle town). Visitors should be able to learn about the history of Edo Bakufu (shogunate) and Sasayama.

Information

O-shoin of the Sasayama Castle
Address: Hyogo, Sasayama, Kita-shinmachi 2-3
Telephone: +81-79-552-4500
URL: http://www.travelhyogo.org.e.aas.hp.transer.com/things/historical/h-055.html
Access: From JR Sasayamaguchi Station, take the Shinki Green Bus bound for “Sasayama Eigyosho,” and get off at the “Nikaimachi” bus stop. It is a five minute walk to the o-shoin.
Admission Fee: Adults/400 yen, University and High School students/200 yen, Children Aged from Six to Fifteen/100 yen.
Special Group Rate (for groups over 30 people): Adults/300 yen, University and High School students/150 yen, Children Aged from Six to Fifteen/50 yen.
** Visitors can enter the tenshu, honmaru and ninomaru for free.
Closed Days: The o-shoin will be closed on Mondays, and from December 25th to January 1st. (If Monday happens to be a national holiday, it will be closed on Tuesday.)