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History of Sendai’s Castles: Uncovering the history and fortresses that shaped the region

The Birth of Sendai’s Castles

Sendai, located in Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku region of Japan, has a rich history dating back to the feudal age. It is, therefore, no surprise that several castles were built in the region over the centuries. The first castle was built in Sendai in 1602 by Date Masamune, a powerful feudal lord. It was named Aoba Castle and was situated on a hill overlooking Sendai City. The castle played an important role in the modernization of the city and was the scene of several key events in Sendai’s history.

Aoba Castle: The Symbol of Sendai’s Power

Aoba Castle was a massive fortress with walls that rose over 10 meters high and were about 2 meters thick. The castle had a three-tiered turret, which was known as “Masamune’s Tower”. The tower had the feudal lord’s personal chambers and was decorated with elaborate gold leaf. It was also equipped with a secret underground passage that led to the riverbank for a quick escape in case of emergency. The castle was the symbol of Sendai’s power and was a vital component in the region’s defense against invasions.

The Evolution of Sendai’s Castles

Unfortunately, Aoba Castle was destroyed during the Boshin War in 1868. Affected by the loss of the castle, the Sendai people rebuilt it in the years that followed. However, the new castle did not match the grandeur of the original fortress. Other smaller castles were also built throughout the city, such as Wakabayashi Castle and Iwadeyama Castle. These castles were used as satellite fortresses to defend the city and as lookout points to spot enemy movements.

The Legacy of Sendai’s Castles

Today, the ruins of Aoba Castle stand as a testament to Sendai’s rich history. They are open to the public and offer breathtaking views of the city below. The surrounding area has been transformed into a public park with many cherry trees, making it an ideal spot for picnics during the cherry blossom season. Nowadays, Sendai is renowned for its cultural heritage, which includes the legacy of its castles. They serve as a poignant reminder of the city’s turbulent past and the resilience of its people.


Sendai’s castles played a crucial role in the history and development of the region. They were symbols of power, key components in the city’s defense, and provided employment for the local people. Despite being destroyed by conflicts, many of the castles have been rebuilt, serve as tourist attractions, and are an integral part of Sendai’s cultural heritage. These magnificent ruins stand as a reminder of the Sendai’s colorful past and the incredible fortresses that have helped shape the region.
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