Sunpu Castle

Sunpu Castle

is a Japanese castle in Shizuoka, which is the capital city of Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan. The sobriquet of this feudal fortress was the "Castle of the Floating Isle."

In pre-modern Japan, Sunpu Castle was the chief fortress in what was then known as Suruga province. The title "Sunpu" (駿府) is a contraction of Suruga no Kokufu.

Imagawa Yoshimoto established his clan at Sunpu during the Sengoku era; and Tokugawa Ieyasu spent his youth in Sunpu as Yoshimoto's hostage. The castle city was located at the 19th stage of the Tokaido Road, which ran from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto.

In 1585, Ieyasu's Sunpu Castle was constructed. later retired to and died in Sunpu after he abdicated his position as shogun in favor of his son, Tokugawa Hidetada.

Edo period

During the years of the Tokugawa shogunate, the bureaucracy expanded on an ad hoc basis, responding to perceived needs and changing circumstances. The bakufu appointed a series of overseers to preserve and defend Sunpu Castle and to serve as administrators for the region. These officials were called the or Sushū Rioban. The commandants of Sunpu were most often taken from the Ōbangashira.

Shogunal city

During this period, Sunpu ranked with other urban centers, some of which were designated as a "shogunal city." The number of such cities rose from three to eleven under Tokugawa administration.

Meiji period

After the Meiji Restoration, Tokugawa Iesato, was briefly established in the han at Sunpu (700,000 koku), from 1868 until the abolition of feudal domains in 1871.

In 1871, American educator E. Warren Clark arrived in Shizuoka to teach science. Shortly thereafter, he directed construction of an American-style house on the grounds of the former castle. In 1873, Clark left Shizuoka for Tokyo. A western-style school, the Shizuhatasha (Shizuhatanoya) was established in the house which had been built for Clark; and a Canadian missionary, Davidson MacDonald, was engaged to run it. McDonald would later help in establishing Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

Sunpu Park

Only the moat of the castle remains today, but restoration projects have recreated the turret tower and main gate. What were formerly the castle grounds are called "Sunpu Park."



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