History of Anoushu

6th Century on-
Takeda castle (Hyogo prefecture)
Ishibutai Kofun (monumental ancient tumulus). Here we find the origins of Anoushu style stone stacking. The Anoushu were employed for the creation of the stone walls in Mount Hiei Enryaku-ji temple. In the temple city of Sakamoto, you can still find the workmanship of the Anoushu.

Fukuchi Mountain castle (Mount Fukuchi)
16th century
to Middle Edo period
Ever since the Sengoku period (Warring period), many castles with ishigaki (stone wall) were built. The Anoushu were actively sought-after to work for the luminaries of the time which represented their periods, like Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi toyotomi, and Ieyasu Tokugawa (all of whom were the ruler of Japan in their time).
19th century to early 1900
Saikyo-ji temple (Otsu)
The creation of castles diminished drastically and the number of Anoushu dwindled accordingly. It was in the 20th century that the skills of the Anoushu got a re-recognition and their honed skills gathered attention once again.

Sakamoto Ishituminosato park (Otsu)
1990 to present
Through their work on preservation of cultural assets, Anoushu's skills were re-recognized and its beauty and gentleness to nature was revalidated. And now there are those that incorporate it in modern architecture. This fusion between the modern architecture and Anoushu syle stone stacking is the start of a new era.

The workmanship of the Anoushu, who settled in the hamlet of Anou in what is now the city of Otsu, can be seen in the stone works of Enryaku temple the Satobo area. Suggesting that the Anoushu seemed to have been widely known prior to the Sengoku period (Warring period). What propelled them to even higher recognition, however, was their employment by Nobunaga Oda to work on the Azuchi castle construction. It is said that the construction of Azuchi castle revolutionized the castle building in Japan and the skills the Anoushu demonstrated in the construction were highly valued. They became irreplaceable part of castle constructions and it is said that Anoushu participated in the construction of most of the remaining large castles and famous castles in one way or another.
The hamlet of stone stacking Sakamoto