From Beppu, after another sumptuous breakfast and bidding farewell to the housekeeper, we made our way to Fukuoka.
Along the way, we made a detour to the Nakatsu city to check out the Nakatsu Castle. We are glad we did that detour.
Nakatsu (中津市) is a city on the northern border of Ōita Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan. The city is on the border with Fukuoka Prefecture.
The daimyo or feudal lord Kuroda Yoshitaka, who governed this region in 1587, began construction of Nakatsu Castle and owned the Castle for fourteen years. It was then completed by the daimyo Hosokawa Tadaoki, who subsequently came to govern this region for thirty-three years as the Lord of the Territory. In 1870, the feudal regime ended at the beginning of the Meiji era, the Castle together with the territory was donated to the new emperor’s government by the Okudairas who dominated the territory in the Castle for 155 years.
The total area of the castle grounds was about 78,000 sqm, and the shape of the whole castle grounds resembles an open fan. The entire castle was destroyed by fire in the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. The present five-tiered donjon was built in 1964, and heirlooms of families that governed this region in the past are exhibited inside the donjon. The top floor is an observation level.
The Okudaira Shrine is located in the main block of Nakatsu Castle, dedicated to the Okudairas’ ancestors. A “tanishi” (a pond snail) festival is held on 21 May yearly to the memory of the Okudairas’ battle with Takedas when the Okudairas’ 500 besieged army, living on the pond snails., had gained the time till the allied forces of the Tokugawas and the Odas were prepared for the victory over the Takedas.
Something interesting to note is that besides having an English pamphlet introducing the Nakatsu Castle, all the exhibits in the Castle Museum are explained in the Japanese language. I guessed this Castle is more for domestic visitors unlike the Castles at Kyoto and Osaka. Having said that Nakatsu Castle gave the nostalgia feel and it is definitely worth a visit if you are making your way from Oita to Fukuoka.
Stay tuned to my next post on my experience at Fukuoka.
This trip was made in October 2017.
How to get there – 1273 Ninocho, Nakatsu-shi, Oita Prefecture (50 parking spaces are available for free)
Opening Hours – 9:00 – 17:00
Admission Fee – Admission to Tenshukaku, High school student and over 400 yen, group (over 30 people) 320 yen, Middle school student or younger 150 yen, group (over 30 people) 120 yen
For more information, do go to www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/castles/nakatsujo.html.
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