Remnants of the castle with signs from the Bonin War
Shirakawa Komine Castle, which was famous for being the gateway to the Oshu domain, was a flatland mountain castle which was completed in 1632 in the Edo Era after being first built by Chikatomo Yuki in Kominegaoka. Although it was burned down during the Bonin War in 1868, the 3-story keep was restored in 1991 as was the case for the main gate in 1994, and since then it has become a symbol for the city of Shirakawa. No matter how you look at it, the castle’s grand stone walls have become the highlight. At the back of the walls, the keep and the gate can be observed so that the designs and efforts used in protecting the castle during war can be glimpsed. On climbing the stone steps and emerging at the honmaru inner citadel, there is also a slightly elevated observation point to get a panoramic view of the city. The three-story keep can also be entered. The old trees that were used in the reconstruction of the keep are cedar trees which were located in the areas of the worst fighting during the Bonin War. Several bullet holes remain in those trees, so that you can understand the harshness of the battlefield at the time. The interior of the keep that has been restored to its original appearance down to the last detail can be observed while thinking about the history of the end of the shogunate system. At the castle park, there is Shirakawa Shuko-en which displays information on the Yuki and Abe clans, and the Ninomaru Tea House where souvenirs can be purchased. Shirakawa Komine Castle suffered serious damage in the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and for a long while it was closed to the public due to restoration efforts, but from 2015, it was reopened. However, as of July 2015, it was still undergoing partial construction.
A famous place filled with the attractions of Shirakawa
Sadanobu Matsudaira, the 12th daimyo of the Shirakawa clan, built a garden from a wetland area in which one part of it, Nanko Park, was nationally selected as a historic spot of natural beauty. Beautiful scenery for all four seasons has been created from pine, maple and cherry trees. Shirakawa Gate which is one of the Three Old Gates of the Oshu is also famous. Poets such as Matsuo Basho have often included the place into their poetry.