On Odawara Castle
by Rory McGarity
"Akoboyakawa Clan first constructed a castle about 800 years ago. Later the castle came into the possession of the Omori Clan. In 1495 the great warrior Shinkuro Ise (later renamed Soun Hojo) came from Izu Province and removed the Omori Clan from Odawara using trickery and armed force. He then built a stronger castle at the present site and his influence gradually expanded over the Kanto provinces. From then the Hojo family was prosperous for five generations, as the lords of Odawara Castle.
The castle was gradually expanded in proportion to the clan's power, and Ujino Hojo, the 5th lord, constructed a donjon at the same site in 1580. By that time, Odawara had become the political, cultural and industrial center of the eastern region of Japan and compared favorably with the then capital of Japan, Kyoto.
In 1870, the donjon was completely destroyed. Recently, the donjon has been completely rebuilt and Odawara Castle is second in splendor only to the Imperial Palace and Osaka Castle. Portraits of the castle's feudal lords are displayed on the second floor and ancient armor, arms, and ancient maps are displayed on the third floor."