About Shiroishi City

About Shiroishi City

What is Shiroishi City

The land which guards the southernmost part of Date Clan where the reflection of Zao mountain range on the surface of Shiroishigawa River can be seen.

Shiroishi City is the gate to Zao area in Miyagi. It takes 2 hours by Tohoku Shinkansen to get to Shiroishi City from Tokyo. Shiroishi City is home to many famous places and historical ruins. Obara Onsen and Kamasaki Onsen is also in Shiroishi City. Head downtown and you can see water canals and aqueducts running through the city. You also get to see other aspects of a castle town such as Japanese style warehouse or Kura owned by merchants at Shiroishi City. In 1995, Shiroishi Castle is restored as a symbol of the castle town.

Shiroishi Castle Town – a beautiful town with flowing clear streams

Shiroishi City is blessed with a beautiful natural environment such as Zao Quasi-National Park and natural monuments. Since ancient times, Shiroishi City has served as the centre of exchange and was also a place of military importance.
From government officials to haiku poets and tanka singers, people of various status and professions gather at Shiroishi City. For a time, objects and monuments like Shitahimo-no-Seki and Wasurezu-no-Yama (Mt. Fubosan) were recited in poems. However, on the other side of the elegance, there is a narrow and steep mountain pass from Kosugo to Saikawa. The perilous pass keeps people away.
Over the years many historical stories that unravels like picture scrolls in Shiroishi City. In 1980, Shiroishi City was designated as a “Historical Town”. Ever since then, restoration and establishment of many historical sites, cultural properties and natural environment are done. With this Shiroishi City takes a step forward in developing a prosperous town.

Traditional Handicrafts and Local Specialties nurtured by the lush nature and clear waters of Shiroishi

“Shiroishi U-men” is a special local product of Shiroishi. “Shiroishi U-men” is made only using wheat flour and salt water. No oil is used. “Shiroishi U-men” has received many praises for being easy on the stomach.
Kokeshi Dolls is a traditional handicraft of Shiroishi. Kokeshi Dolls such as Yajiro Style Traditional Kokeshi Dolls and Shingata Kokeshi Dolls are made by the prosperous wood grain industry in Shiroishi. “Japan National Kokeshi Doll Competition” is held every year in May.

The Construction of Shiroishi Castle and the Development of Castle Town

It is said that the origins of Shiroishi is due to the victory of Katta Shouenojou Tsunemoto in the war that raged on from 1083 ~ 1087. He was bestowed the land of Shiroishi. He then took on the name of Katta and started construction of castle here in Shiroishi.
Later, the land was taken over by various clans such as the Shiroishi Clan. Even though the castle was under Date Clan’s influence, in 1591, Toyotomi Hideyoshi confiscated the land. The land together with the Aizuwakamatsu Castle was gifted to Gamou Ujisato. Gamou Genzaemon Satonari, a vassal to Gamou Clan, renovated Shiroishi Castle and became its castle lord.
In 1598, Shiroishi Castle came into the possession of Uesugi Clan. Amakasu Bingo no Kami Kiyonaga reconstructed Shiroishi Castle and became its castle lord.
In 1600, right before the battle of Sekigahara, Date Masamune attacked Shiroishi Castle and took back Shiroishi Castle and the land. Ishikawa Yamato no Kami Akimitsu became the temporary castle lord of Shiroishi Castle.
Later, Katakura Kojuro, vassal to Date Clan made large reconstruction efforts to the castle. After the reconstruction, Shiroishi Castle became the residence of Katakura Clan for around 260 years until Meiji Restoration. During these time, the castle town flourished and prospered.

Shiroishi Castle Lord Katakura Kojuro and Shiroishi

The first generation Katakura Kojuro Kagetsuna has served as a Moriyaku since when Date Masamune was still a child. Katakura Kojuro Kagetsuna during his stead as Moriyaku has on many occasions saved Date Clan from dangerous crisis, thanks to his ability to calmly observe situation and see the big picture. His composure of a resourceful manager has also won praises from Hideyoshi and Ieyasu, whom recognized Kagetsuna as “a person of great talent of a nation”. Kagetsuna made countless achievements during his years and in 1602, Shiroishi Castle was bestowed upon him.

The Relationship between Shiroishi and Sanada

During the summer campaign of the siege of Osaka in 1615, a fierce battle unraveled between Katakura Kojuro Kagetsuna and veteran Sanada Yukimura. Since then he was known to the world as Onikojuro (lit. Kojuro the Demon), “Vanguard of Date”.
Even though Katakura Kojuro Kagetsuna is the enemy general, Sanada Yukimura, realizing the potential Kagetsuna has to be a warrior of wisdom and courage, entrusted him with his children before the fall of Osaka Castle. Kagetsuna at that time not only has Oume, daughter of Anayama Kosuke under his care, but also young children (Oshoubu, Okane, Daihachi) that led a secluded life in Kyoto City. He secretly brought them up in the outer citadel of Shiroishi Castle (Daihachi was raised outside Shiroishi Castle).
Oume was later came to be known as Ouhime. She became Katakura Kojuro Shigenaga’s wife, and led a happy life together with him.
Oshoubu was later known as Oshoubuhime and became the wife of Tamura Sadahiro. Okane passed an early death while Daihachi took on the name of Katakura Shiro Bee Morinobu and became the vassal of Katakura Clan. He was later appointed the feudal retainer of Date and in 1712, during the times of second generation Tatsunobu, he restored his name of Sanada.
Even today, Shiroishi still has many historical ruins related to Sanada Yukimura.

Boshin War and Hokkaido Immigration

In 1868, with the outbreak of battle of Toba-Fushimi, the Boshin War started. It was then in the midst of war when Sendai and Yonezawa Domain Lords requested for aid to Aizu Domain. In response to the request of Sendai and Yonezawa Domain, the chief vassals of the 25 Domains in Ouu gathered at Shiroishi Castle and formed the “Oetsu-Reppan Alliance”. “Oestsu-Reppan Alliance” is also known as “Shiroishi Alliance”. After that, 6 Domains from Oetsu joined the alliance, forming the “Oetsu-31 Domain Alliance”. After an unsuccessful attempt to turn around the situation, they surrendered in 15 September 1868. With that, the war started to come to an end.
After the defeat in Boshin War, the area of Shiroishi took on different forms such as Shiroishi Domain, Shiroishi Prefecture and Kakuta Prefecture. In 1871, Shiroishi became Sendai Prefecture. The members of former Shiroishi family lost their estate and their livelihood and were forced into 2 options of either crossing over to Hokkaido and take up the profession of a samurai or live the rest of their lives as farmers.
Many of the people decided to migrate and left for Hokkaido in hopes of a new world. However, little do they know that continuous hardships await them at Hokkaido. Despite that, after overcoming those hardships and putting in huge efforts, they were successful. Their success laid down the foundation for the development current Noboribetsu City and the Shiroishi ward of Sapporo.

Enquiry

  • Shiroishi Tourist information center

    Here for information, pamphlet and image use application for personal tourists
    Shiroishi Tourist information center(Located in JR Tohoku Honsen Line Shiroishi Station)
    Phone number 0224-26-2042
    9:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Shiroishi Tourist information center(JR Tohoku Shinkansen Baishirishimae station premises)
    Phone number 0224-24-5915
    9:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Shiroishi City Tourism Association

    For corporations & agencies in tourism industry
    Shiroishi City Tourism Association
    1-1 Otemachi, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture 989-0292
    TEL: 0224-22-1321
    FAX: 0224-22-1451

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Introduction of Pochi Warrior Kojuro
Shiroishi’s Charming Spring
Miyagi Zao Sightseeing Navigation

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Introduction of Pochi Warrior Kojuro
Shiroishi’s Charming Spring

Guide map

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Miyagi Zao Sightseeing Navigation

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