Fukuyama Castle 福山城
Founder Mizuno Katsunari
Mizuno
Year 1622
Type Hilltop
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Hisamatsu-jo, Iyoo-jo
Reconstructed 1966 (concrete)
Structure 5 levels, 6 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Historical Artifacts Important Cultural Properties:
Fushimi Yagura, Sujigane Gate
Location Fukuyama, Hiroshima Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Fukuyama Sta. (San'yo line); 2 minute walk
Website Fukuyama Castle Official Homepage
Visited November 14, 2009
Notes Right next to the train station, it's worth your time to stop and visit on the way through. You can take the best pictures of the Fushimi yagura and Tsukimi yagura from the train platform heading towards Osaka. Plan accordingly so you have some time to take pictures from here. I didn't realize that until it was too late and had only a few minutes to get a couple pictures.
History In 1619, Mizuno Katsunari, a cousin of Tokugawa Ieyasu, was the first of the Tokugawa hereditary vassals (fudai daimyo) to be stationed in the Chuugoku region. He was placed here at Fukuyama to be just between the non-hereditary vassals (tozama daimyo) in Hiroshima and Okayama. He received great support from the Tokugawa in the form of money, materials and buildings transferred from Fushimi Castle to build this rather large and strong castle (23 yagura and 10 gates) quickly. It shows the importance Tokugawa placed on showing his strength to these tozama daimyo. The castle was completed in 1622.

Fukuyama Castle was one of the greatest castles of the Edo Period and many buildings survived the Meiji Restoration, but were mostly destroyed in the air raids of 1945. Only the Fushimi Yagura and Sujigane Gate survived.

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  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 11:07 PM
    Reconstructed structures destroyed during the war: Kagami Yagura (Mirror Turret), rebuilt 1974 Shōrō (turret with bell inside), rebuilt 1979, a unique structure (for a castle) designated as a municipal level important cultural property. Yudono (bath house), rebuilt 1966. Other structures rebuilt: Tsukimi Yagura (Moon-viewing Turret), destroyed during the Meiji Restoration, now rebuilt.
  • Eric    July 29, 2016 at 10:08 AM
    Lampshade, It's a pretty safe bet that most cultural attractions and museums in Japan will be closed on Monday. I made the same mistake enough times before I finally learned to either plan around going to such sites on Mondays or check in advance.
  • Lampshade    July 28, 2016 at 10:11 PM
    The castle is closed on Mondays! As a side note, Fukuyama Station didn’t seem to have too many lockers and all of them were full when I was there so if you’re carrying a bag the ‘Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of History’ next to the castle has some small size lockers (100 yen, but gives you the coin back later). Of course you need to buy a ticket to the museum first (290yen, station lockers are 300yen the small ones) but the museum is also a good visit if you’re already going to the castle.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    June 07, 2015 at 03:09 AM
    Passed this a few times finally stopped to see it.
  • byrdsignal    April 15, 2015 at 05:32 AM
    Visited Spring 2015. Access is as easy as it gets (right next to a JR station that is a stop for the bullet train), and what you get for minimal effort is great. The grounds are clean and pleasant, the rebuilt keep provides for superior photo ops, and the museum inside (they had an exhibit of traditional swords when I was there) is worth a look. The archaeological displays for the immediate area were particularly interesting. The only real drawback was that the museum had a group of obnoxious, drunken men in it while I was there. One was even passed out in a corner. I could've done without that.
  • John Turner    October 08, 2014 at 07:37 PM
    Visited here last week. Only came across it by chance on the way east to Okayama for the first time. Booked into my Okayama Hotel and travelled the few stations back to Fukuyama. I got very lucky, as there is a fantastic display or armour and helmets on until 27 November 2014. Yes, interior is ordinary, but main tower looks terrific from the outside, and some of the other structures have interest. See the temporary exhibition if you can!
  • Dick Harris    October 01, 2013 at 02:59 AM
    As others have said you can take good photos from the eastbound Shinkansen platform of Fukuyama station. http://dickh.zenfolio.com/p313259263 Click Slideshoq, upper right for full size photos.
  • George Mitchell    April 24, 2012 at 03:02 PM
    I visited this castle in 1947 as an Australian soldier. I visited Fukuyama again in May 20110 and am still impressed with its beauty. George Mitchell
  • Eric    April 18, 2012 at 09:29 PM
    @furinkazan, thanks. It looks like you're having a great trip!!
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 18, 2012 at 05:35 PM
    I went to this castle after visiting Suigunjo on Innoshima(not present on this site, but i'll give the info to the webmaster when back home). So i came from Onnomichi and saw the castle from the train. Since i use a JR-pass i have access to the Shinkansen-tracks without further costs. I took some photos from the track to Osaka. You may slide the windows to take photos, but don't forget to close them back. The castle is very impressive from the outside as stated below. Nevertheless i went inside and the artifacts on show are certainly worth the 200 yen entrance fee. Sadly nothing is translated. For the 2 original buildings on the site i give 4 stars to this castle.
  • RaymondW on My Page    September 05, 2011 at 08:44 PM
    Ron S. is spot on the money about how if they had moved the JR train line further back, this castle would have seemed to be like a smaller version of Himeji Castle, being quite impressive on its little solitary hill. Of course, putting some thought into make the interior better and more authentic-looking wouldn’t go astray either. I visited this castle again as part of a three-day to visit mainly a few castles in Hiroshima Prefecture early last week. This castle site looks great from the outside with two authentic structures left. I decided not to go inside the castle keep this time. Got better things to do.
  • Eric    July 27, 2011 at 11:55 PM
    Great idea, I love the categorization of reconstructions in Showa and Heisei. It works very well.
  • RonS    July 27, 2011 at 11:28 PM
    I have always felt frustrated that Fukuyama station was built smack dab in front of the main part of the castle, on top of outer walls, a gate and a now filled in moat. It might not have been so bad before the elevated shinkansen (bullet train) tracks were added, but now it is a huge obstruction. Just imagine if the station had been located some distance to the south.... Arriving passengers would be treated to an imposing panorama of the castle rising proudly above the town center.
  • RonS    July 27, 2011 at 11:02 PM
    In response to jorthrhns post, when Japan was developing rapidly from the 1950s thru the 70's, there was a national love affair with cement as the wonder building material of the future. In the case of castle keeps (tenshu) and other historic monuments that had been destroyed during the war, it was also much cheaper, quicker and easier to use (in combination with a steel frame) than authentic traditional materials. As you know there are a good number of castle keeps that were reconstructed this way. I call them "Showa castles" because they were all built in the Showa era (1926 - 1989) and exemplify aspects of the mentality of that era. I should add that Osaka Castle's keep was the fist to be rebuilt of concrete and steel and it dates from 1928. Beginning in the 1980s, when the Japanese finally started to feel like they had made it to the top economically and there was lots of yen to spare, an awareness developed of the importance of reconstructing historical buildings as authentically as possible. Since then, there have been some wonderful reconstructions. The keep and connected towers of Osu castle in Ehime prefecture (2004) and several major structures in Kanazawa castle (2001) are wonderful examples. To me, these more recent projects are "Heisei castles" because they have been built in the more enlightened Heisei era (1989 to present).
  • jorthrhns    April 03, 2010 at 06:02 AM
    Why the heck do they have to make the reconstructed donjon out of concrete anyway? why can't they just remake the original as it would have looked
  • Raymond W    March 18, 2010 at 09:17 PM
    Visited this castle again last weekend on the way back from Hiroshima City. It is a very impressive castle on the outside with some of the turrets and one gate still around (some original, some reconstructed.) However, the inside is just like Hiroshima Castle: bland, concrete, 1960s-like and nothing like inside a real Japanese castle. The museum is okay with a few suits of armour, weapons, some pottery, calligraphy etc. Hiroshima Castle is better because it has some English explanations and some reconstructed rooms from the Edo Period. BTW, no photography is allowed inside the castle. I went a second time to collect my castle stamp (Japan's 100 Top Castles) and to make sure that I did not go there on a bad day (see earlier comment below). Nay...I was right. Good on the outside, boring and bland inside.
  • Raymond W.    December 02, 2009 at 08:26 PM
    Some very nice photos of the Fukuyama Castle in autumn. You certainly had better lighting and conditions conducive to taking some good photos. It is a very impressive castle on the outside and certainly worth a visit if one is in the area. As I have posted in a comment below, this castle has a very concrete 1960s feel to its interior. The museum is pretty good, though. Unfortunately, I sped through it, so probably did not get as much out of it as I should.
  • Raymond    August 07, 2008 at 04:49 PM
    Went and sussed this castle out after going to Okayama Castle. Fukuyama Castle is just across from the JR Fukuyama Station. It takes almost an hour from Okayama Station using the local JR train. This castle is quite impressive on the outside, but the inside definitely has a 1960s concrete construction feel to it. Contrast this with the interior of Okayama Castle (another concrete reconstruction) which is done more tastefully. If you are in the area, this castle is definitely worth a visit.
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Fukuyama, Hiroshima Pref.
Fukuyama Castle views
main keep fushimi yagura
Fushimi Yagura Tsukimi Yagura
Sujigane Gomon gate main keep
Shorou bell tower Yudono bath house
Kagami yagura walls
natsume gate ruins stone walls
view from the top map