Fukuyama Castle After Construction


The Fukuyama Castle that Mizuno Katsunari moved into in August 1622 was one of the largest in Japan at the time, with an inner citadel surrounded by a first and second outer citadel as well as double moats. The grounds are expansive at roughly 258,180 square meters including the area to Mt. Komaru in the north and the outer moats, and a length of roughly 2,156 meters all the way around the outer moat. Inside, there is a total of 22 turrets, including 7 three-story turrets. Within the inner citadel is the inner citadel palace where Katsunari lived and the O-yudono (Bathhouse). On the north side of the first outer citadel are storehouses that were used to store rice from land taxes and the shogunate. The second outer citadel included the residence of the chief retainer surrounding the first outer citadel, and on the east side was the daimyo’s palace where the feudal lords lived, beginning with the 2nd Mizuno daimyo, Katsutoshi.

In this era of the Decree of One Castle Per Province, an exception was made for the construction of this castle, and it was the last full-fledged modern castle built in Japan.


Fushimi-yagura Turret (National Important Cultural Property)

One turret (yagura) that was moved from Fushimi Castle at the time of its construction. During repairs begun in 1951, the inscription “Matsu-no-maru East Turret” was found on a second-floor beam, proving that the turret was moved from Fushimi Castle. Although there are buildings that tradition says were originally moved from Fushimi Castle, this is the only extant building in Japan for which there is written proof from inscriptions or in reference documents.  As such, it is an extremely valuable part of Japanese castle history.


Fukuyama Castle – Historical Lords

The 5 Generations of the Mizuno Family

Mizuno Katsunari, cousin to Tokugawa Ieyasu, entered Fukuyama in 1619, and thus the history of the Fukuyama Domain began. Land reclamation and urban development of the town around the castle was carried on by later lords and Fukuyama’s development continued. However, when Katsumine died in infancy, the Mizuno family lacked a successor and Katsunari’s great-grandchild was permitted to take control. After a forced reduction of land by the shogunate, the daimyo was relocated elsewhere.

The First Matsudaira Daimyo

Commonly known as “Okudaira Matsudaira.” Founder Okudaira Tadaaki inherited the Matsudaira surname by being adopted by Ieyasu. In 1700, it was decided by the shogunate that Tadamasa, the 3rd Okudaira Matsudaira daimyo, would be relocated from Yamagata to Fukuyama, but his reign lasted just 10 years.

The 10 Generations of the Abe Family

Founder Abe Masakatsu served under Tokugawa Ieyasu from childhood and became a hereditary dynasty like Mizuno and Matsudaira. The historical members of the Abe family in Fukuyama Domain supported the shogunate for generations in important roles including Soshaban (master of ceremonies), Kyoto Shoshidai (personal representative of the shogunate in Kyoto), Jisha-bugyo (commissioner/overseer), and Roju (elder). Particularly Masahiro, who signed the Convention of Kanagawa, had a major impact on later generations in Japan.