Odawara city, Kanagawa prefecture
Also Known As
by Takashi Toyooka
The colours could not have developed better in this photo. It's one of my favourite photos (of one of my least favourite castles).
by Brad Poland
Odawara-Jo's present layout of moats, turrets, and "kuruwa" reflects its reconstruction by Inaba Masakatsu in 1633. Its historical significance, however, is found almost a half-century before then when it was the stronghold of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's eastern enemies, the Hojo clan. When Hideyoshi's armies laid siege to Odawara in March of 1590, Odawara boasted the largest network of moats and other fortifications in all of Japan. When it finally fell in July of that year, Hideyoshi had no major forces keeping him from taking the rest of eastern Japan. After the Tokugawa bakufu took over, they used Odawara-Jo as a major line of defense against possible invasion of Edo from the west. Apparently they did not want it to be too strong, however, as they filled in some of the moats and thereby lowered its defensive capabilities.
The present steel and concrete tenshu replicates the outward form of Inaba's tenshu, which was torn down in the early Meiji Period. Plans are afoot to rebuild some gates and walls.
The photograph I took was great, but if you turned around from where I was standing, you'd see a tiny amusement park, and a zoo. It did not seem befitting of such a historically significant site. I was most disappointed. The castle itself was fairly nice, although the long stairway leading up to the entrance certainly was not part of the original construction. Too easy to climb.