Wakayama-jo (Wakayama Castle) sits on the site where Ota-jo once stood. Ota-jo was the home of the "Saiga Ikki", a group of fanatic Buddhist warriors during Japan's feudal era,who were renown for their expertise with the Arquebus (an early muzzle-loaded firearm used in the 15th to 17th centuries)and for their expert gunsmiths and foundries.
In 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536 to 1598), a Daimyo or building dams on three sides of the castle, focusing the rain-waters and diverting the river to ruin the castle, in powerful territorial lord, layed siege on Ota-jo by what became known as the "Siege of Negoroji". As hunger set-in,the Samurai Monks and peasants inside Ota-jo surrendered, but fifty warrior-monks led a final charge against Hideyoshi's army,committing honourable suicide. Ota-jo was later rebuilt as a temple for the Shinshu branch of Japanese Buddhism.Wakayama-jo was then constructed on the same site,by Hideyoshi's brother, Toyotomi Hidenaga (1540 to 1591), a powerful warlord during Japan's Sengoku Period.
In 1600, Asano Yoshinaga (1576 to 1613), a Samurai and Feudal Lord, took-over the occupancy of the castle and soon ordered repair-work on the stone walls.
In 1615 the castle was attacked by forces loyal to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who were trying to end the "Siege of Osaka" (a series of battles undertaken by the Tokugawa Shogunate against the Toyotomi Clan).
In 1619,Tokugawa Yorinobu (1602 to 1671),the tenth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu,oversaw the renovation and repair to the castle, as the result of the recent invasion.
In 1846 the main tower was destroyed by lightning and was rebuilt,after special permission was granted by the Shogunate, in 1850.
Twenty-one years later, in 1871,the castle was abandoned.
As a result of Allied bombing,during World War 11, the castle was destroyed,but was rebuilt in 1958 out of concrete and is open to the public as a symbol of Wakayama City.
Today the castle stands in Momijidani Teien (Momijidani Gardens)and is a place of scenic beauty, where many observation-deck, on the upper-most floor, visitors will gain a sweeping-view of Wakayama City, while, inside the visitors come to view the 1,300 Cherry Blossom trees when their flowers bloom in Spring (April/May). From the castle tower, are remnants of the Tokugawa Clan on display.
Tips: Access to Wakayama City would be best by train. Wherever in the Kansai Region you are staying,I suggest to go to the J.R.Osaka Umeda Station (the main J.R. station in Osaka).From there take the J.R.Hanwa Line to Wakayama City. I suggest you board the front four carriages,as the rear four carriages split and go to Kansai Airport.
From Wakayama station, it is a 20-minute walk to Wakayama Castle.
The castle is open from 9am to 4:30pm and admittance is 350-yen.
As always,when visiting a park, I recommend you take a picnic lunch and have something later, after your tour.There are plenty of food-outlets in Wakayama City.
As mentioned in the introduction, Spring would be a great time to visit the castle,but,in saying that, any-time of year is just as good.