Images: Daniel O'Grady
富田氏1608 - 1613
伊達氏1614 - 1871
宇和島城Uwajima Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Teikakushiki), and is located in Ehime Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Iyo Province. It is associated with the Tōdō, Date clans. Dates in use: 1596 - 1871.
The castle at Uwajima is perhaps a little too hard to get to for the average tourist. Located on the Western coast of Shikoku, it requires deliberate planning to take in its sights. The main reason why you would visit the castle is that it is one of just 12 that have managed to retain their original Edo period main tower - an exclusive club given the many 100's that had been originally built.
The castle experienced its share or battles prior to its final expansion around 1600. On two occasions since then, the number of buildings have decreased. The first was about 30 years after the castle was decommissioned and then again in bombing in WWII. The precious main tower aside, there is little else of interest for the castle enthusiast, save for the impressive Date clan museum & some minor gates.
Uwajima's TenshuThe central tower of Uwajima could hardly be described as menacing or imposing. And not because of it being relatively short in stature either. It has been described as being cute, and I'd tend to agree. There is an undeniable grace in its design though, which may see people rate it above some of its boxy cousins.
|941||Fortifications were first built.|
|1236||The fortifications were expanded upon. At that time, the castle was known as Marukushi castle.|
|1546||The Chōsokabe clan were in possession of the castle when the Ōtomo clan attempted to take it.|
|1585||The armies of Toyotomi Hideyoshi took possession of the castle. He then put his retainers in charge there.|
|1595||The Tōdō clan were awarded the domain.|
|1596||A major restoration of the previous fortifications were initiated by Tōdō Takatora.|
|1601||The name of the castle was changed to Uwajima upon completion. In the same year, the Tōdō clan were transferred to Imabari Castle further north.|
|1608||The Tomita clan were transferred here.|
|1614||Hidemune, the son of the renowned Daimyō Date Masamune, was awarded the domain & entered the following year.|
|1662||A major restoration on what was a castle in very poor condition was undertaken.|
|1671||The restoration, including repairs to the main tower, were completed.|
|1871||The castle was abandoned.|
|1900||Most of the turrets & gates were torn down.|
|1945||The Ōte Gate burnt to the ground due to WWII bombing.|
|1950||The castle was awarded Important Cultural Property status.|
|1952||The Kōri nagaya gate was transferred to the castle grounds and now acts as its entrance.|
|1960||A complete restoration of the main tower took place over two years.|
|Site||National Historic Site|
|Main Tower||Important Cultural Property|
|Noboritachi Gate||City designated Important Cultural Property|