A medieval military commander named Date Shigezane built the foundations of Watari. The right-hand man of Date Masamune, Date Shigezane focused on developing Watari after his reign began. Watari was originally a small town where people fished at the mouth of the Abukuma River and cultivated fields. Date Shigezane improved waterways, opened a new rice field and salt pans, and developed irrigation channels, leading to the creation of an affluent town. Below is an introduction to four historical spots that reflect this history.
Leaving JR Watari Station, a castle jumps into view. This is Yurikan.
The museum opened in 1994.
The local history museum on the first floor highlights Watari from the ancient Jomon period to the present day. There is also a corner where you can listen to regional folk tales handed down for generations, and a library on the second floor where you can learn about the history and culture of Watari.
In addition, the fifth-floor observation hall offers a view of the town! It is also a spot for viewing the Pacific Ocean to the east and Mt. Zao to the west.
The Watari-Date clan ruled this area for 14 generations, beginning in 1602 when Date Shigezane became lord of Watari.
The Watari-Date Clan Family Cemetery houses the graves of the successive rulers and their wives, who also supported the development of Watari. The mausoleums of the first-generation lord, Shigezane; his father, Sanemoto; and the fifth-generation lord, Saneuji, are erected here, as are stone pagodas called hokyointo that mark the tombs of the second-generation lord, Munezane, and successive lords and wives, down to the wife of fifth-generation lord, Saneuji.
With the tombs of more than 20 lords and their wives gathered in one location, this is an invaluable cemetery.
As the family temple of the Watari-Date clan, Daiouji Temple protects the tombs.
Date Shigezane allegedly founded the temple in 1604, relocating the clan’s family temple to the Daiouji Temple. The original buildings no longer remain, but a temple gate was rebuilt in the late Edo period.
The low hill on which Daiouji Temple is located is the site of Kozutsumi Castle, the castle of the powerful Watari clan from the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period. Here, overlooking Watari, the lords of the Watari-Date clan rest peacefully.
This shrine was built in 1879 and was intended for the people of Watari to communicate the virtue of Date Shigezane to future generations at the ruins of the Watari-Date clan’s castle. At the side of the shrine stands a large stone monument engraved with the biography of Shigezane.
To share in the fortune of Commander Shigezane and to pray for victory in war, a monument to the Boshin War and other monuments of invocation were erected at the rear of the precincts.
Somei Yoshino cherry trees were also planted in the shrine forest, where various trees grow; in spring, the approach pathway becomes a tunnel of cherry blossoms. In January, the Donto Festival is held to pray for health in the new year, which attracts local residents.
About the history and culture of Watari
Details are posted on the Buratto-Watari website.