【日本の城下町】古の息吹を感じる悠久の日本の城下町20選

大きな災害や近代化にも耐えてきた古の町並み

「城下町」は日本の都市形態のひとつで、領主の居城や陣屋を中心として成立した町のことです。一般的にこの町の事を「城下町」或いは単に「城下」と呼びます。

元々戦闘を想定して造られた城はもちろん、行政施設の陣屋であっても長い歴史の中で戦災に巻き込まれています。その被害は城を取り巻く城下にも及び、多くの武家屋敷・町屋などが無くなっているのです。

城と城下が無くなる原因には戦災の他に、大火・天災などの他、近代になっての都市開発などもあります。今に残る城下町は、これら幾多の困難な状況を乗り越えて、私たちに古の息吹を伝えてくれます。

こうして残された城下町には、弘前(青森)・角館(秋田)・霞城町(山形)・佐倉(千葉)・松本(長野)・金沢(石川)・郡上八幡(岐阜)・伊賀上野(三重)・飛騨高山(岐阜)・津山(岡山)・津和野(島根)・萩(山口)・篠山(兵庫)・出石(兵庫)・龍野(兵庫)・飫肥(宮崎)など、「小京都」ともされるものがあります。

大火や戦災、そして都市開発の波もくぐり抜けて、今に残る城下町の姿は古の息吹を感じさせてくれる悠久の町なのです。

様々な姿を見せる町割りの日本の城下町

今に残る城下町には、自称他称を問わず「小京都」とされるものの他にも色々とあります。中には地元の独自性を全面に押し出してあえて「小京都」を避けて観光的なPRをする町もあります。

古の息吹を感じさせる城下町は、いくつかの面から選ばれています。そのテーマは、「歴女が訪ねたい町並み」・「フォトジェニックな町並み」・「昔ながらの美しい町並み」・「小京都」などです。

「歴女が訪ねたい町並み」テーマでは、伏見(京都)・姫路(兵庫)・金沢(石川)・松本(長野)・大阪・会津若松(福島)・那覇(沖縄)・萩(山口)・名古屋(愛知)・仙台(宮城)が選ばれています。

「フォトジェニックな町並み」テーマでは、武蔵嵐山(埼玉)・伊賀上野(三重)・西尾(愛知)・尾道(広島)・津和野(島根)・山口・弘前(青森)・飫肥(宮崎)・出石(兵庫)・杵築(大分)・郡上八幡(岐阜)・角館(秋田)・秋月(福岡)が選ばれています。

「昔ながらの美しい町並み」テーマでは松本(長野)・松江(島根)・津和野(島根)・萩(山口)・角館(秋田)・小田原(神奈川)・松阪(三重)が、「小京都」テーマでは飛騨高山・角館・平泉(岩手)・土佐中村(高知)・津和野・三次(広島)・小浜(福井)・竹原(広島)・人吉(熊本)・津山(岡山)・秋月(福岡)が選ばれています。

「歴女」が是非とも訪れたいとか、フォトジェニックで昔ながらの美しい町並みを残す城下町は、「小京都」と名付けられるものがあるほどすばらしい所なのです。

ここでは、様々な形で選ばれている城下町の中から、選りすぐりの町について、その歴史や見所について紹介をしていきます。


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【大阪】食い倒れ・天下の台所と形容される太閤はんの城下町

城下町・大阪(大阪府大阪市)は、西日本の軍事・経済の要の地であり、「食い倒れ」や水路に支えられた「天下の台所」と形容される、太閤はん(豊臣秀吉)が築城した「大坂城」を中心に水運で栄えた町です。

【平泉】平安京に次ぐ大都市・奥州藤原氏の「陸奥の小京都」

城下町・平泉(岩手県・平泉町)は、政治の中心となる居館「柳之御所」が城と同等の存在となり、平安京に次ぐ大都市にまで繁栄させた、奥州藤原氏の「陸奥の小京都」と呼ばれる町です。

【松山】温泉と現存大天守と文学の文化的魅力が豊富な城下町

城下町・松山(愛媛県松山市)は、日本最古と言われる道後温泉と、全国的にも貴重とされる現存大天守を持つ「松山城」、そして「文学のまち」としての文化的魅力が豊富な町です。

【尾道】古都の風情香る坂の街・猫の街・「瀬戸内の小京都」

城下町・尾道(広島県尾道市)は、実は過去に城を持ったことはなく厳密に言えば城下町ではありません。しかし、古都の風情香る坂の街・猫の街・「瀬戸内の小京都」として人気の観光地となっている町です。

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