Second part of the article on the twelve Japanese castles whose main tower is built with the original materials. These are the four castles of Shikoku, from north to south. The link to the first part is below.
1. Marugame Castle, Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture
Built for the first time in the sixteenth century, Marugame Castle was destroyed only a few years after its completion, due to the Tokugawa shogunate policy that limited the number of castles to one per prefecture. Marugame Castle was then rebuilt in 1640, after the prefecture was divided into two. During the Meiji Restoration, some buildings were damaged or destroyed as a result of fires and government policies.
The most interesting part of Marugame castle is perhaps its 60 meter wall, the highest among the castles, whose shape resembles a fan; walking to reach the main tower, you will find that many of the stones that make up the wall are engraved with the name of the place of origin or of the people who placed them.
The castle is a hirayamashiro, a castle built on a hill, so that reaching it can be a nice walk, but the sight of the city repays every effort.
2. Matsuyama Castle, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture
After various vicissitudes, the castle passed and remained under the control of the Matsudaira family until 1923, when it was donated to the city. The main tower and other buildings were damaged or destroyed during the bombings of World War II: although some buildings were rebuilt in concrete, almost all of them were rebuilt in the exact same location and using traditional woodworking techniques.
Matsuyama Castle can be reached by cable car and is particularly popular during the blossoming of cherry blossoms for hanami.
3. Kochi Castle, Kochi, Kochi Prefecture
Built in 1601 by the Yamanouchi family, Kochi Castle was completely destroyed by fire in 1727, to be rebuilt about 25 years later.
The peculiarity of the castle is that the main tower was used not only as a defense and observation tower, but also as a residence: it was quite unusual, as families usually lived in a separate building.
The castle was never involved in battles, although it was heavily damaged by fire and was restored twice, in the eighteenth century and after the World War II.
4. Uwajima Castle, Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture
Built in 1595, it was conquered a few years later by Date Masahide, son of Masamune, who transformed the area into a cultural and industrial center. The Date family maintained control of the castle until the Meiji Restoration. As with most of the other castles, the main tower underwent restorations throughout its history, the last one in 1962.
Uwajima Castle has an elegant white structure and stands in a beautiful park with a view of the city, but it is quite difficult to reach – many believe this is the reason why no one has yet decided to demolish it.