Local landmark and a fine illustration of civic commitment
Ozu emerged as a political fief during late 16th century. By that time, renown designer Todo Takatora had completed a sturdy castle on a mound overhanging the Hiji River. A thriving castle-town soon materialized along its banks. The Katos, local daimyos since 1617, retained the grip of Ozu Domain for 13 generations. Although the donjon was dismantled in 1888, stone foundations, defensive walls, and four of the turrets of the castle complex have survived to our days. Furthermore, a civic movement was launched in the ’90s to recreate the castle keep. Respecting original materials and techniques was an essential point of the blueprint. In 2004 four beautiful stories, clad in black timber boards and covered with chidori and kara gables, reappeared in Ozu’s skyline. The 19m timber tower was the tallest completed in post-war Japan. It represented a milestone in Japanese heritage management, requiring substantial amendments of building regulations. Today it stands proudly as a genuine example of Japanese medieval architecture rehabilitation. Stays are available.