Ote-Mon Gate (大手門)

An ote-mon gate is a gate constructed at the most important entrance of a Japanese castle that leads to kuruwa (walls of a castle) such as a ninomaru (second bailey) and a sannomaru (outer part of the castle). It refers to a main gate. For some castles, such as the Kochi-jo Castle, Ote-mon gate (大手門) is expressed as an ote-mon gate (追手門) in Chinese characters.

An ote-mon gate is often constructed for heavy security, constructed as a yagura-mon gate (literally, turret gate), and is square-shaped built on a stone mound. It is large and in fact is built to be seen. Its bridge is often an earth-paved bridge.

Meanwhile, a gate built at backside of a castle is called a karamete-mon gate.

Hirosaki-Jo Castle

It is known to have an old style.

Sendai-Jo Castle

Its ote-mon gate existed at its ninomaru (present-day Kawauchi South Campus of Tohoku University) until the Sendai air raids.

Osaka-Jo Castle

Its ote-mon gate as well as Tamon yagura (hall turrets), Senkan yagura, and the Three walls that surround the ote-mon gate are designated as important cultural properties.

Nijo-Jo Castle

It was a castle for accommodating shoguns when they visited the capital (Kyoto) and it is now designated as an important cultural property.

[Original Japanese]