Donations sought to restore Mito Castle
The Japan News -- May 25
The Mito city government is seeking donations from companies and individuals to help restore major parts of Mito Castle: the Otemon main gate, the Ninomaru Sumiyagura watch tower within the outer structures of the castle and the castle walls.

The city government has been asking for donations since May 1 to purchase traditional kawara roof tiles needed for the reconstruction work. Each donor's name will be written on a list called homeicho as "the castle lord of one tile," and the list will be preserved permanently. Depending on the amount of their donation, donors will also be awarded various memorial gifts, such as traditional plates called tegata.

According to the Mito municipal board of education, historical records say the structure that preceded the current Mito Castle was built from the late 12th century to early 13th century by warlord Baba Sukemoto. The building was later greatly expanded by warlord Satake Yoshinobu, and then by the Tokugawa shogunate.

The castle lost its function as a samurai lord's headquarters when the government that followed the Meiji Restoration (1868) abolished the han fiefdom system and replaced it with prefectures.

In air raids on the city in the last years of the Pacific War, most parts of the castle were burned down, including a three-story structure that formed the tenshukaku central tower.

During the Edo period (1603-1867), the Otemon was the main gate of the castle and the Ninomaru Sumiyagura formed the outer enclosure. The two structures were connected by a wall hundreds of meters long.

Partly to promote tourism, the city government plans to reconstruct the three structures as a set. It aims to complete the work by the end of fiscal 2019.

To encourage public interest in the reconstruction plan, the city government decided to ask for donations to purchase kawara roof tiles, which will be used for the roofs of the structures. Clay produced in Mito will be used to help the tiles resemble those of Mito Castle in the Edo period.

水戸市三の丸の水戸城跡で、登城口だった「杉山門」が再生されるなど、往時をしのばせ­る景観整備がひと区切りした。これを受けて三の丸自治コミュニティ連合会(佐々城昭会­長)などは4日、県立水戸三高周辺で完成式典と現場見学会を行った。住民らは「第1段­階が完成した。さらに2019年度までには、大手門や二の丸角櫓の復元をやり遂げ、市­民の誇りとしたい」と、強い決意を見せていた。
News source: The Japan News
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