Hiroshima Castle was built in 1589 by Mori Terumoto, who was one of the council of five elders appointed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After his defeat at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Mori was replaced by Fukushima Masanori as the new lord. Fukushima further developed Hiroshima Castle, as he improved and expanded the castle town. However, Fukushima renovated the castle without notifying and receiving consent from the shogunate government, and consequently he was sent to another jurisdiction. In 1619, Asano Nagaakira, the previous lord of Wakayama Castle, became the new lord of Hiroshima Castle. Hiroshima prospered under 12 generations and 250 years of governance of the Asano clan. In 1931, the castle keep was designated as a National Treasure. Unfortunately, the keep and rest of the castle were completely destroyed in the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima City. The main castle keep was rebuilt in 1958, and it remains in that restored form today. Hiroshima Castle is one of Japan’s three great castles built on flat land, and it is also one of Japan’s top 100 castles.
In 1989, the interior of Hiroshima Castle was renovated to mark 400 years since it was originally built. The main castle keep is currently used as a historical museum, mainly showcasing Japan’s samurai culture. The museum also has a popular hands-on corner where visitors can try on the armor, helmets, samurai costume and other clothes from Japan’s warrior period, and take a commemorative picture of themselves dressed as a samurai warrior. You can enjoy a great view of the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Dome from the observation deck, and on a fine day you can even see as far as Miyajima. Hiroshima Castle is also known as Rijo (carp castle). There are various stories behind the origin of Rijo. One is the stretch of land that Hiroshima Castle was built on was once called koi-no-ura, and the characters used for the land name of koi were changed to the character of koi that means carp fish. Another story is the castle’s moat had lots of carp fish in it. This is also why Hiroshima’s central league baseball team is called the Hiroshima Toyo Carps.