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LastUpDate: June 11, 2012
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Hakata Culture vol.64


The Green Spaces at the Old Fukuoka Castle Ruins

The Green Spaces at the Old Fukuoka Castle Ruins

Ohori Park is an extremely popular site for walking and jogging in an area noted for its water and greenery. Not as many people extend their walk to the site of the old Fukuoka Castle Ruins next to the park, however. The castle was built by Kuroda Nagamasa, who was a major contributor to the victory of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the battle of Sekigahara. He built the castle after being awarded a large fiefdom for his services. It was a magnificent structure that required seven years to erect. It was also known as Maizuru Castle, because it was said to resemble a crane dancing in the sky when viewed from the sea. Ohori Park was the site of the castle moat.


Unfortunately, most of the structure, including the castle tower, no longer remains. Several gates and turrets still stand on the castle grounds, however, including the Shimonohashi Gate and the Tamon and Shiomi turrets. The existing stone walls are quite beautiful, and their appearance gives one an idea of the splendor of the castle when it was still standing. There are also many trees on the castle grounds, making it a pleasant place to stroll when the plums and cherries are in bloom.


The view from the highest point on the grounds where the tower once stood offers a terrific view of Hakata Bay and the surrounding area. The keep is the symbol of Japanese castles, but it is not clear whether Fukuoka Castle had one. That is a great mystery which is still debated by researchers. Based on the size of the foundation stones and walls, however, the castle keep would have been five levels had one existed.


The Fukuoka-jo Mukashi Tambokan opened on one part of the castle grounds this April. It features an exhibit of a scale model of the castle and a video explaining the castle’s origins and history. Admission is free, and it’s an excellent spot for taking a short break. It’s worth dropping by if you’re walking to or from the castle site.



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緑豊かな福岡城跡を歩こう

 水と緑に囲まれ、ウォーキングやジョギングが楽しめる場所として人気の高い大濠公園。でも、その隣にある福岡城趾まで足を延ばす人は少ないのではないでしょうか。1600年の関ヶ原の戦いで功績をあげた黒田長政が、福岡に52万石の領地を与えられて築いたのが福岡城です。築城に7年の歳月をかけた立派な城で、海から見た姿が空に舞う鶴に似ていたことから、別名「舞鶴城」とも呼ばれていました。大濠公園は福岡城のお堀のなごりなのです。

 残念ながら天守台をはじめとした建物はほとんど残っていませんが、下之橋御門(しものはしごもん)、多聞櫓(たもんやぐら)、潮見櫓(しおみやぐら)など、城内にはいくつかの門や櫓が点在しています。あちこちに残された石垣はたいへん美しく立派なもので、これを見るだけでも当時の勇壮な城の姿を想像することができます。また城内には緑がとても多く、梅や桜など季節折々の花が咲くので、散策を楽しむにもぴったりです。

 天守台があった最も高い場所からは、360度ぐるりと福岡城下が一望でき、博多湾も見晴らすことができます。天守閣は日本の城のシンボルとされていますが、福岡城にあったかどうかは今も不明で、研究者の間では大きな謎として議論されています。もし仮にあったとすると、天守台の礎石や石垣の規模から、5層の大きな天守閣だったのではないかと考えられています。

 今年4月、福岡城趾の一角に「福岡城むかし探訪館」がオープンしました。内部には福岡城の復元模型が展示され、福岡城の歴史や由来を紹介するビデオが上映されています。入場無料で、ちょっとした休憩にも利用できます。福岡城の散策の行き帰りにぜひ立ち寄ってみてください。