Friday, October 21, 2011

Ueno Castle in Kagoshima

As I was out riding the train west from Kagoshima-chuo station in the direction of Satsuma-Sendai, I noticed a small castle just short of the first stop at Hiroki station. The next day, I came back out specifically to find this castle. It's about a mile in through the hills from Hiroki, right close to the tracks. The street in this area is really narrow and cars have to take turns going in opposite directions.

The lower side door is actually an enclosed shrine.

The main entrance was locked. Fortunately, someone from the building across the street had come out to get some can coffee from the vending machine in front and I was able to talk to him.

Apparently, the statue is of Mr. Ueno, a Kagoshima real estate agent at the beginning of the Showa era. So, the castle is less than 80 years old. He was responsible for some of the larger development projects in the city and probably built the castle himself. The upper floors are deteriorating and have been closed to the public. The first floor is being treated as a real estate office.

And here I was thinking that I'd discovered an actual unknown castle. Sigh.

Sazae-san Restaurant

It's another 1 mile back to Kagoshima-chuo station. Along the way I found a restaurant that's named after one of the biggest anime in Japan. The Sazae-san manga was written by Machiko Hasegawa who originally lived in Taku, in northwest Kyushu. So, maybe the owners here feel some kind of connection to her.

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