In 1585 Hashiba (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi subjugated the Kishu territory (the area now known as Wakayama) and ordered his younger brother, Hidenaga to build a castle on Mt. Okayama (now known as Mt. Torafusu). This is the castle
we know today as Wakayama Castle.
Todo Takatora was in charge of overseeing the building of the castle. This castle can be said to be the first early modern castle that he was involved in building.
When Hidenaga was moved to Yamato Koriyama Castle, Kuwayama Shigeharu was placed in charge of the castle. Later, when Hidenaga’s family line came to an end, Kuwayama became lord of the castle. During this time, the Toyotomi and
Kuwayama periods, construction was mainly focused on the area at the top of the mountain and the Okaguchi area.
In 1600, after the Battle of Sekigahara, Asano Yoshinaga came to Kishu. With Asano as the daimyo, the area produced 376,000 *koku of rice. He worked to increase the size of the castle, developing the main castle keep into its current
interconnected-style and building a residence in the areas that are now known as Honmaru, Ninomaru, and Nishinomaru. The main gate was changed from the Okaguchimon Gate to the Ichinohashimon Gate. The surrounding castle
town was built around Honmachidori Ave., the main avenue that extended out from Ichinohashimon Gate.
In 1619, Yorinobu, the 10th son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, came to the area, which now yielded 555,000 *koku, and established the House of Kishu. Part of the inner west moat was filled in to allow for the Ninomaru area to be expanded.
The Minaminonaru and Sunanomaru areas were incorporated into the inner ward of the castle, and the castle came to look much the same as it does today.
Wakayama Castle came to be known as the most important fortress that watched over Western Japan. Many notable figures, including the Eighth Shogun, Yoshimune, and the 14th Shogun, Iemochi, came from here.
In 1871 the feudal system was abolished and the country was divided into prefectures. During this time, the castle was used as an army lookout point.
Thirty years later it was opened to the public as Wakayama Park. Finally, in 1931, it was established as a historical site.
*A koku is a unit used to express power and economic strength equivalent to approximately 150 kilograms of rice, or enough to feed one person for a year.