Iga Ueno castle, Iga, Mie Prefecture.
Iga Ueno castle is one of the 100 best castles of Japan, situated on the site of the former Heirakuji temple it is a fine example of Japanese realising the tourist potential of the romantic image of Japan’s superman warrior - the ninja!
The original castle was built in 1585 by Tsutsui Sadatsugu, four years after Oda Nobunaga had destroyed Iga and “pacified” the troublesome Samurai of Iga and practically put an end to their mercenary skills. In 1608, on the grounds of bad management, the Tokugawa government confiscated the territory of Iga and posted Todo Takatora (1556-1630) in the castle. Tokugawa Ieyasu, showing respect and appreciation for his connection to Iga and it’s spies, instructed Takatora to enlarge the castle and it was planned to be one of the three finest castles in Japan. Extensive work was carried out on the moats and walls. The walls of the main keep are 30 metres high being the tallest of any castle in Japan. The castle tenshu (keep) was to be five-stories with an unhindered view in all directions, but during it’s construction a severe storm knocked it down and it wasn’t rebuilt.
The current tenshu is a modern reproduction on a grand scale, it is by far the best and most accurate reproduction castle in all of Japan. Constructed entirely from wood and plaster using the exact same methods as castles of the Sengoku period, it stands atop one of the most impressive walls in Japan, commanding a spectacular view over the Iga region.
Inside the castle are a great many historical artefacts including armour, swords, spears, everyday items and equipment from the Sengoku period through to the Meiji period most of which was formerly property of or related to the Iga Samurai.