Photo by Shiroishi Cultural Gymnasium Promotion Foundation
Photo by Monder Rehamnia
December 1, 2022
Located in the heart of Shiroishi City, this castle site is bestowed with rich history and spectacular scenery. The original Shiroishi Castle dates back to the twelfth century and was made of wood. Then in 1591, it was renovated by the Gamo clan, a prominent samurai family, who fortified it with stone walls and a tower A few years later, Date Masamune took over the area and gave the castle to one of his long-time retainers, the Katakura clan. In 1867, Shiroishi Castle was demolished during the Meiji Restoration. The current castle tower is a faithful reconstruction completed in 1995 using traditional, historically-accurate techniques and layouts for authenticity. It’s been open to the public ever since.
On the way to the castle keep, you will walk through the main gate into a beautiful courtyard. Stone stairs bring you to the main entrance of the castle. Climb up to the top floor and relish the view as if you were a samurai looking out over your domain! The castle also offers a “samurai experience,” where a staff member helps you put on a suit of armor or kimono of your choice for a mini photo shoot.
Next to the castle is a museum dedicated to the history of Shiroishi Castle. It features a 3D theater on the third floor and historical exhibits on the second.
One of the most exciting events I’ve ever been to is the Oni Kojuro Samurai Festival held every October in front of Shiroishi Castle. Hundreds of “warriors” clad in full armor with matchlock guns represent Shiroishi’s Katakura clan and re-enact a famous historical battle against Toyotomi’s forces. It really makes you feel like you’ve traveled back in time!