This castle was built towards the end of the 16th century. Back then it was used by Mori Terumoto, a powerful feudal lord and a close ally to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who governed the Hiroshima region from this location. Back then, the city of Hiroshima didn’t exist, it was instead referred to as Gokamura, or “Five Villages”, due to the fact that it was made up by five separate villages at this time. These were later merged together and the area developed into one of the most important economic hubs in western Japan.
After the Meiji Restoration, when the feudal system was abolished, the castle was used as a military facility. This usage continued until the end of the second world war, when the castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb. Before being the destroyed, the castle also enjoyed some years as a national treasure, getting the designation in 1931.
The castle was rebuilt in the late 1950s. Today it houses a museum dedicated to Japanese history and the local development of the Hiroshima region throughout the centuries. A large portion of the exhibition is also dedicated to Samurai Culture, with replicas of homes of samurai on exhibit as well as armour and weapons.
On the top floor there’s a small observation deck and rest space with some vending machines, where you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the modest yet tasteful skyline of Hiroshima.
One noteworthy detail about the building itself is that it is made of black wood, giving it a different look when compared to many other, more well known, Japanese castles. The current version replica was made to look as faithful to the original castle as possible.
The area within the moat surrounding the castle is today a lush park, popular among local residents and visitors alike. Along with some ruins of buildings that used to belong to the original castle, you will also find several preserved trees that survived the atomic bomb in here.
Hiroshima Castle is located less than a kilometer from the Peace Park, and can be reached by foot in about 15 minutes. If you prefer to get here by public transport, the tram stops Kamiyacho-nishi and Kamiyacho-higashi are both located nearby. The museum is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and the entrance fee is 370 yen.