Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tofukuji Castle and Park

As mentioned in the last post (Walk to Senganen), I saw the sign for Tofukuji castle when I reached Ishibashi Koen (Stone Bridge Park), and decided to make the quarter-mile detour.  The road ends at a parking lot, with a driveway that goes up to some privately-owned land.  At the entrance to the driveway, someone had set up this tree trunk with a sign saying "beware of boars".  In fact, there are signs warning of the presence of wild boars all around the park. (I didn't see or hear any traces of them, though.)

Beware of inoshishi (boar)

The park is at the top of a hill, and covers several square blocks.  And like all of the other parks around here, is laid out like a big text adventure game, with nooks and crannies, twisting little passages and stairways that go nowhere.  The below pavilion is at the top of the hill, where Tofukuji castle used to be.

"The First Shimadzu Stronghold
Toufukuji Castle Site
... Shimadzu comes to Kagoshima ...
Tofukuji Castle dates from the period of civil war between the northern and southern imperial dynastics [sic] (1336-1396). On the orders of the Kamakura Shogun, Minamoto Yoritomo, Shimadzu Tadahisa had come to Izumi to take personal control of his domains in southern Kyushu. Shimadzu Sadahisa, the 5th Lord, left Izumi and in 1341 defeated the Yagami clan at Tofukuji Castle. Sadahisa and his son, Ujihisa thereafter settled in Tofukuji Castle, from where they governed as far as Osumi. From Tofukuji, the Shimadzu family later moved south to Shimadzu, Uchijiro, and finally Tsurumaru Castle. All these can be seen from this point.

(Map of southern Kyushu, showing the extent of the power of the old clans.)

Where once was a castle, is now a park slide.

"Site of Kimotsuki Kaneshige's fights
The Kimotsuki clan was a local ruling family that had been based in Osumi Peninsula from the late Heian period (794-1192). Kimotsuki Kaneshige was a son of the 6th generation of the Kimotsuki Family, Kanefuji. Because his elder brother Kanehisa was visiting Kamakura to settle a legal case, Kaneshige was in charge of the Kimotsuki clan on the Southern Court side during the battle of Northern and Southern Courts. The stone inscription reads that Kaneshige was with Haseba Hidezumi when he entered Tofukugi castle in August, 1340 after the fall of Mimataintakajo in Miyazaki Prefecture. The fighting lasted for eight months. Kaneshige's tomb is located in the former Jokoji grave in Kimotsuki-cho. During the era of the 16th generation of Kanetsugu in the Sengoku-era (period of Warring States), Kimotsuki's territory expanded to cover an area from southern Osumi to southern Hyuga (present day Miyazaki prefecture) threatening Shimadzu. However, Kimotsuki's power lessened and in 1580 the Kimotsuki family officially took on the role of a Shimadzu liegeman."

At the southeastern end of the hill is the plaza fronting the tomb of Heihachiro Togo.  Togo was one of Japan's leading admirals following the Anglo-Satsuma War and including the war with Russia in the Baltic.  He grew up in an area about half a mile east of my apartment.

"Togo's Tomb and Tagayama Park
The fate of our empire depends upon this single battle let everyone do his best
In 1905, with the Z flag flying from the masthead of his flagship, the Mikasa, commander in chief of the Japanese Navy, Togo Heihachiro, destroyed the Russian Baltic Fleet. Togo was born in Kajiyamachi in 1847. When he was 15, he took part in battle with the British where he saw firsthand the force of the British warships. With his heart on establishing a strong Japanese Navy, he studied in London and became one of the most illustrious admirals in the world. Tagayama was chosen for his grave because all the vessels entering Kagoshima Port can be seen from here. We can also see the remains of cannon used against the British at the foot of the mountain. In his later years, Togo held the position of tutor to the Crown Prince, and he died at the age of 88, in 1934. He was accorded a national funeral and he was buried at Tama at [sic] Cemetery in Tokyo. His tomb at Tagayama contains his hair and is surmounted by a bronze statue. Tagayama Park, which overlooks the center of Kagoshima City, is the site of the former Tofukuji Castle, where the Hasaba family [visited] from the Taga Shrine to the God of Longevity (Shiga Prefecture), which was worshipped by the 16th Lord, Shimadzu Yoshihisa."

(Old photo of Togo's fleet)

The cannon mentioned in the memorial marker above was one of three batteries positioned along the coast in Kagoshima. All that's left of any of them are the bricks making up the foundations of the outer walls.  The battery at the bottom of the hill is part of Ishibashi Koen.  The second surrounds the Dolphin Port Aquarium, and the third is at Tempozan at the mouth of the Kotsuki river.

Togo's tomb is at the top of the hill.

And it really does command a nice view of the bay.

On the other side of the hill with Togo's statue, the park continues it's text adventure meandering, going past this torii and following the path to the right.

Just your average every day crypt sitting out in the middle of a clearing in the woods.

Turn around and there's the shrine.

This guardian is actually one of a pair at the southwestern side of the hill, facing a staircase that runs down the side of the hill to the Inari river, where it heads towards Ishibashi Koen.  Not sure why anyone would deliberately make the hike up those steps to get to the park, but I'm pretty sure that a bunch of school kids do it all the time (based on my experiences at other hillsides).

Going to the northern edge of the grounds, there's some kind of ruins in a corner, with these carvings set up on a flat area at the top of a platform.

Continuing northeast and back down the hill towards the parking lot and tree stump, I found this little pool and gate in the side of the hill.  I couldn't really tell if the gate is just blocking a small hole in the dirt, or if it's a cave or tunnel running under the castle grounds.  It annoys me, the number of tunnels like this that the city has gated off.  I really wish I knew who to talk to for permission to enter them.  As I got close to the pool, there was the sound of 4 or 5 things jumping into the water.  Looking down, I saw at least 10 frogs or toads still sitting on the ledge.

Then it was back to Ishibashi Koen, and the trek to the end of Senganen.

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