Kanazawa-jo Castle is a large, well-restored castle in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. It is located adjacent to the celebrated Kenroku-en Garden, which once formed the castle's private outer garden.
History and description
The castle was founded in 1583 when the Maeda family moved to Kanazawa to establish the Kaga Domain. It was greatly reconstructed in 1592 after the first of Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea, at which time its moats were dug. It was burned down and reconstructed in 1620-21 and again in 1631-32, then almost completely gutted in the great Kanazawa fire of 1759, and rebuilt in 1762 and 1788 (Ishikawa-mon Gate). After several minor fires and an earthquake, it was again destroyed by fire in 1881.
What remains, including the 1788 Ishikawa Gate, is now part of Kanazawa Castle Park. The Sanjukken Nagaya (an Important Cultural Asset) and the Tsurumaru Storehouse are two additional remaining structures.
The Hishi Yagura turret, Gojikken Nagaya warehouse, and Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura turret were faithfully restored in 2001 to their 1809 form, using traditional construction methods. Today's pillars are Japanese Hinoki Cypress with massive American cypress as ceiling beams. It is such a large structure within that in the late 18th century it was called "the palace of 1,000 tatami". The castle's distinctive, whitish roof tiles are made of lead. The reason for that is not only that they are fireproof, but legend says that also that in times of siege, the tiles could be melted down and cast into bullets.