Odawara Castle (小田原城) is the nearest fortress to Tokyo. Located in Odawara City (Kanagawa Prefecture), is the gateway to Hakone, a popular travel destination. It can be reached from Tokyo in 70-90 minutes by local or rapid trains on the JR Tokaido Main Line or in 35 min by JR Tokaido Shinkansen.
Odawara Castle is listed by the Japan Castle Foundation as one of the 100 Fine Castles of Japan.
The castle’s predecessor was a castle built on a hill by the Omori clan in the Muromachi era (1338–1573), and after becoming the seat of Odawara Hojo clan in the Warring States period, it was expanded as a base from which to control the Kanto region. Odawara Castle faced three major attacks by Uesugi Kenshin in 1561, Takeda Shingen in 1569 and Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1590. The last siege by Toyotomi Hideoyoshi was the end of the Hojo clan’s supremacy and the castle was turned over to Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The donjon is a 1960 reproduction of its appearance at the end of the Edo era. Inside the three-tiered, four-story keep are on exhibit suits of armor, swords, old documents and other historical materials. The uppermost floor overlooks Sagami Bay and the city.
Inside the Tokiwaki Gate there is a Samurai Museum and on the castle grounds a Ninja Museum.
Odawara Castle is also a famous spot for cherry blossoms.
When we visited the castle in May, the keep and the museums were closed due to coronavirus measures.
photos: Junko Nagata © Japanbyweb.com
Official website: Odawara Castle