The Green Leaf Castle on top of Sendai’s Aoba Mountain does not only have a rich history, but is also a great spot to view cherry blossoms.
Enthousiasts of the age of the samurai will most likely have heard of both Sendai and the Date-clan who once ruled from here. Sendai is the capital of the Tohoku region and Japan’s second largest northern city after Sapporo in Hokkaido. Known for its spacious city planning with much green have resulted in its nickname as “Mori no Miyako”, the “City of Trees”, and on top of its Aoba Mountain once lay the great castle of lord Date Masamune.
Lord Date Masamune, who lost his right eye to small pox and came to be known as the “One Eyed Dragon”, came from a long line of feudal lords, but it was under his leadership that the clan gained true name and fame. After serving the nation with great distinction during the invasions of Korea the Date clan was rewarded with the governance over the Tohoku domain. The domain was one of Japan’s largest and most profitable with a bustling agricultural economy, but Lord Date Masamune aimed higher and transformed it into an economic centre of foreign trade.
The castle Lord Date had in mind was equally so ambitious yet its large main keep was never built beyond its foundation. Nonetheless, the castle encompassed several large storehouse, immense gates and vast palace by 1637 when its construction was completed by Date Tadamune. Most of the castle has unfortunately been lost due to the dismantling that take place throughout Japan after the civil war. A series of fires during the late 19th century, bombing runs during World War II and demolition by the U.S. Occupation Army destroyed the few remaining buildings.
Today the Aoba Castle plateau has been revitalized as a beautiful park with the remaining dirt walls and two castle buildings serving as reminder to its gorious past. When the cherry blossom trees along the mountain’s slope start to blossom, the plateau turns into one of Sendai’s most popular spots to enjoy hanami.
|Name:||Aoba Castle (青葉城)|
|Address:||1 Kawauchi, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture 980-0862|