Odawara

 

Odawara Station is a train station located in Odawara city, Kanagawa Prefecture. The station is served by East Japan Railway Company’s Tokaido and Shonan-Shinjuku Lines, Central Japan Railway Company’s Tokaido Shinkansen, Odakyu Electric Railway’s Odawara Line, Hakone Tozan Railway’s Hakone Tozan Line, and Izu-Hakone Railway’s Daiyuzan Line.

 

Odawara is a city located in southwest Kanagawa Prefecture. It is one of the oldest cities of Japan, its history going back to prehistoric times. The city especially flourished during the Sengoku Period (the warring states period) in the 15th century when the Hojo clan ruled the area. Odawara further prospered in the subsequent centuries and became the main transportation hub linking Edo with Kyoto. Today the city continues to be an important transportation artery with Odawara Station being an important station of the area.

 

The main attraction of Odawara is Odawara Castle, located about 10 minutes walk from Odawara Station.

 

Odawara Castle

 

Odawara Castle is the landmark of the city of Odawara and is listed as one of the 100 Fine Castles of Japan.  

 

The origins of Odawara Castle go back to more than 600 years when Odawara was a stronghold of the Doi clan, and its branch, the Kobayakawa clan, built its fortified residence at this spot. In 1416, the Omori clan took control of Odawara, and they further fortified the area where the castle stands now. This fortified area expanded and became a strong and powerful castle after the Hojo clan defeated the previous clans and took over Odawara in 1495 and ruled for 5 subsequent generations. During this entire period, Odawara Castle was the center of its domain. However, in 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeated the last Hojo in a power battle, took over Odawara and ordered the castle to be pulled down. In 1619, the Inaba clan became powerful in the Odawara region and began rebuilding the castle. During the entire period that the Inabas ruled Odawara (1619-1685), the castle was extensively renovated and reconstructed to its present form.  In 1685 the Okubo clan took over Odawara, and till the arrival of the Meiji Restoration, ruled Odawara Domain from the castle. When the new Meiji government took over, it ordered all clan fortifications to be destroyed, and with it came the destruction of the castle. Odawara Castle was pulled down between 1870 and 1872. In 1909, the Odawara Imperial Villa was built within the compounds of the castle, but was later destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. In 1938, the castle site was declared a national historic monument and much later in 1950, repairs started on the site. By 1959 much was reconstructed, but work was again started in 1976 and Odawara was rebuilt to its present form. This time reconstruction was based on archeological findings and old drawings. During this final rebuilding, the Odawara Castle Park was also built in the area, which now includes an art museum, a history museum, a library, a zoo, and an amusement park.

 

Entry to the castle grounds is 400 yen.
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