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LastUpDate: September 12, 2013
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Hakata Culture vol.79


Korokan and the Fukuoka Castle Ruins―Take a Walk through History

Image of Korokan and the Fukuoka Castle Ruins—Take a Walk through History image

Often times when you visit famous ruins, there are no buildings left and you cannot tell what was once there. The Korokan-Fukuoka Castle Ruins area, which is now a park in Chuo-ku, is a rare combination of ruins from ancient times and the Edo Period, both of which are nationally-designated historical sites. Unfortunately, almost no buildings remain, so you cannot tell what the sites used to look like from their current state.


This is why Fukuoka City developed a virtual walking tour of the area. Walking around the ruins with a tablet computer in hand, you can view virtual reconstructions of what the area used to look like. Holding the tablet and turning 360° provides you with full panoramic views of the old scenery. You can also enjoy vistas of the old town from the keep of Fukuoka Castle. To sign up for a virtual tour, stop by the Fukuoka Castle Ruins Visitor Center (Cost: ¥500/person).


Korokans were built in the Heian Era for diplomacy and trade. There were three of these facilities in Japan, but the one in Fukuoka is the only one that has been found. Excavation continues at the site, and several new discoveries have been made in recent years. The Korokan ruins are an important site in Japan, but given its sheer age, there is almost nothing left to show what the site looked like or how big it was.


Fukuoka Castle was built by the founding father of Fukuoka, Kanbei Kuroda, and his son Nagamasa, but it was also called Maizuru Castle because of its resemblance to a crane flying elegantly through the air. Even today, some of the castle's gates, towers and grand stone walls remain, but most of the buildings have been lost. If we can reclaim the past elegance of the castle, even if only on a computer screen, maybe people will grow more attached to this important symbol of Fukuoka. 



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鴻臚館・福岡城で楽しむ時空散歩

 古い史跡では建物が残っていることがあまりなく、有名な場所でも訪ねてみると何もなかった、ということは少なくありません。現在、公園となっている中央区内の鴻臚館・福岡城の史跡エリアは、古代と江戸時代という2つの時代の国指定史跡が残る希少な場所です。けれども建物などがほとんど残っていないため、今の状態からは当時の様子をうかがい知ることができません。

 そこで登場したのが「バーチャル時空散歩」と呼ばれるガイドツアー。タブレット端末を片手にエリアを散策すれば、行く先々で当時の様子を再現したCG画像がタブレットの中に現れます。デジタル技術を駆使し、360度回転すると、当時の情景も360度再現される仕組み。福岡城の天守台からは昔の町並みも見晴らせるのです。ガイドツアーは公園内の「福岡城むかし探訪館」で受け付けており、1名500円です。

 鴻臚館は平安時代に設置された外交や交易の施設ですが、全国3ヶ所にあった施設の中で場所が判別しているのは、福岡市にある筑紫の鴻臚館のみ。現在も発掘調査が行われており、最近も次々に新しい発見が出てきています。全国的にも貴重な史跡ですが、古代の史跡のため当時の様子や大きさを実感できるものはほとんど残っていません。

 また、福岡城は福岡藩を築いた黒田官兵衛(如水)・長政親子が造り上げた城で、大空に舞う鶴を思わせることから「舞鶴城」の別名があったそうです。現在も一部の門や櫓、壮大で美しい石垣を残していますが、優美な城の姿は大半が失われています。タブレットの中の画像とはいえ、当時の姿が目の前によみがえれば、興味や愛着も一層わくのではないでしょうか。