Hamada Castle Museum

Hamada Castle Museum introduces the history of the castle and the nearby port of Tonoura, which is recognized as a Japanese Heritage Site as a port of call for Kitamae Ships. It opened in October 2019 in the historic building of Gobenden, explained below.

Hamada Castle
Only the ruins of Hamada Castle exist. It was built on a 67-meter-high hill, and is also known as Kameyama Castle, or Turtle Mountain Castle. Construction of the castle began in 1619 by Shigeharu Furuta, who became the first lord of the Hamada Domain, the following year, and it was completed in 1623. The castle had a hillside inner moat, a government office, and storehouses, and a hillside inner courtyard, which housed a storehouse of flaming-hot glass and a guardhouse. The citadel, or honmaru in Japanese, had a keep, a three-storied turret, a storeroom, and a six-room house.

Tonoura Bay
Tonoura was known as a natural harbour bordering the castle town, where many Kitamae Ships called at the port and prospered. There were two small flat areas in the deep bay, lined with shipping wholesalers. From the middle of the Edo period to the Meiji period, Kitamae Ships were Japanese-style boats that sailed between Hokkaido and Osaka on the westbound route . The Kitamae ships’ business was based on the buying and stacking method, in which cheap goods were purchased at one port and sold at a higher price at another port, thereby earning a profit. Iwami pottery, especially large water butts, can be found all along the ships' routes on the Sea of Japan coast. Today it is a lovely place for a stroll, and many local people enjoy fishing there.


This is a photo of the Hachiemon Aiyuza (1798-1836) monument erected in 1935 in Tonoura Bay. Hachiemon owned a ferry in Matsubara Town, Hamada City and worked as a direct boatman, transporting tribute rice and other commodities.  There are claims that he went as far as south-east Asia to trade. However, this was in Japan's isolationist period and when his travels were discovered, Hachiemon and his crew were arrested, and he was eventually executed. Now he is celebrated in Hamada as a local trader who tried to bring wealth to the town.

Gobenden is the building that now houses the museum. It was built in 1907 as a lodging facility for Prince Togu during his state visit to the San-in region. Gobenden is a traditional Japanese-style building with a large gabled roof. There is a throne room and an audience hall inside. While the building itself is attractive, at the time of writing, none of the exhibits are explained in English.

(Photos and words by Sera)

Near Spots

Pony, seafood bowl
Restaurany Pony Restaurant Pony is in Grand Toit, the largest museumin Masuda. You can enjoy delicious foods made with fresh loca...(read more)
Grand Toit 1
Grand Toit Grand Toit is an arts center in Shimane. Both the roof and outerwalls of Grand Toit use roof tilescalled Sek...(read more)
Tsuwano’s Japanese heritage center (Tsuwano-cho Nihon-Isan Center) Iwami region is home to one of Japan's 'little Kyotos', smaller scale versions of the delightful city. Tsuwa...(read more)
Sanbe Azukihara Maibotsurin park “Maibotsurin” means submerged forest. This park is at the bottom of Mt. Sanbe. This facility was establish...(read more)
Iwami Silver Mine Museum The museum was built as a local government office in the Meiji era (1902). It's a large traditional house and exhibi...(read more)
Art workshops At Sekisho Art Museum they hold regular art workshops. You can learn how to paint, sketch, and make things. Of course, i...(read more)
iwami world
Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Center Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Center Iwami Ginzan is a UN World Heritage site in the mountains of Shimane, Japan. During ...(read more)
Nima Sand Museum When you visit Japan for vacatipn, a trip to the countryside allows you to see a dofferent side of country. Iwami is f...(read more)
SAHIMEL The Shimane Nature Museum of Mt. Sanbe “SAHIMEL” How many people know which is the highest mountain in Sh...(read more)
Grand Toit Grand Toit is the compound institution; museum and theater. In Iwami Art Museum, you can enjoy many kinds of Art at 4 ex...(read more)
Sekisho Art museum This museum was built for Sho Ishimoto(石本正) who is a famous Japanese artist. He sent his works to Misumi and this museum...(read more)
Morijuku Museum Tsuwano is a must-see on any visit to the Iwami region in Japan. This ' little Kyoto'...(read more)