Ever wonder what it is like to live in a Japanese Castle

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a samuri and live in a Japanese Castle? Chances are the daimyo or local king who owned it hardly ever went into it.

This little castle in the town of Maruoka, Ishikawa Prefecture looks like a cool place to hang out, it was built in about 1576 and is a good example of the “place of last resort” for the owner who lived like a king. His principal residence sat below the castle, a sprawling group of houses and buildings and garderns for his extended family and guests that sat between the middle and inner moat. His samuri had their homes ringing the area between the middle and the outer moat as his defense during times of peace. Daily the daimyo lived a peaceful existance, but in a time of war the defences went up beyond the outer moat, if it was breached by the enemy the samuri would withdraw to protect the daimyo, their employer, in force upon the palace grounds. If the middle moat was crossed the daimyo would have a choice to either help in the fight himself or to withdraw up into the castle keep called a boro tehshu-kaku, the highest viewing tower, up these steep irregularly shaped steps seen below.

This tower sat at the highest position within the moated grounds, it only has one entrance and was stocked and supplied. If the daimyo retreated to the tower a select corp followed him as a final defense and once inside they fought with the advantage of height. This tower looks from the outside to have two levels or floors to it, but there are actually three and they are joined by almost vertical stairs. Each level has a main room, in this case about 30 x 30 feet square, the lower floors have small hidden side rooms for samuri to be stationed in, the upper floor is slightly smaller and is just one room.

Depending on which way the seige progressed, the daimyo would move up a level along with his immediate family and the wooden stairway would be removed from below and destroyed as a trapdoor was inserted from above. The upper floor with a 360 degree view of the his land harbored a private setting if needed for the honorable deed.

As you can see, the average day of the daimyo did not include hanging out in the castle like some of us would think he did.  alx

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