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Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城 Ōtakijō) was a flat mountain castle located in the town of Ōtaki, Isumi, south-eastern Chiba Prefecture.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

In the Middle Ages, the area was known as Ōtaki. Hence, the name of the castle derived from the locality. In the first half of the 16th century, the Mariyatsu Takeda clan (真里谷武田氏) ruled the castle. During the Tenbun period (1532-1555), the Satomi clan's chief vassal, the Masaki clan (正木氏), controlled the area which became the power centre of eastern Kazusa Province.

In 1590 (Tensho 18), the Satomi clan's territory was reduced to one province, Awa. The land of Ōtaki became the territory of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu gave the castle to Honda Tadakatsu (本多忠勝), the bravest of his vassals, to tein in the Satomi clan. Tadakatsu then undertook a major reconstruction of Ōtaki Castle and the castle town. In 1609 (Keicho 14), the Spaniard Don Rodrigo, shipwrecked off the coast of Bōsō and rescued by local people, met the then lord of the castle, Honda Tadatomo (本多忠朝), at Ōtaki. Rodrigo eventually returned to Japan and wrote about his impressions of the castle.

After Honda, the lordship of the castle passed to the Abe, Aoyama and Inagaki clans, and in 1703 (Genroku 16), Matsudaira Masahisa (松平正久) became castellan. Since then, nine generations of the Matsudaira clan have held the castle until the Meiji Restoration.

The castle was located on the hills west of the present-day Ōtaki Station, while the castle town spread across the plains to the east of the station. The castle rose in a staircase-like fashion from east to west. A natural deep moat, the Isumi River (夷隅川), flowed south of the castle hill.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

Aerial photographs taken from Geographical Survey Institute maps. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

We drove to the castle. From the Ichihara Tsurumai Interchange of the Ken-O Expressway, which opened in 2013, drive along the Ōtaki Kaidō road. You will pass through the old castle town with a free parking lot in front of the main gate.

The following is not in the order we looked around the castle but in the order starting from the main gate.

① Ōtemon (大手門)

On the west side of Ōtaki Station, there are Ōtemon ruins.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

② Hachiman Shrine (八幡神社)

Hachiman Shrine is located just behind the ruins of the Ōtemon Gate. Formerly located in the Ninomaru area, it was moved to this site on the ruins of the Sannomaru area in the Meiji era (1868-1912). The castle tower peeks out behind the shrine.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

This tennis court is set in the moat ruins between the Ninomaru and Sannomaru areas. The ruins of Ninomaru at the rear of the court are on a higher level.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

③ The Ruins of the Ninomaru (二の丸跡)

The ruins of Ninomaru are the site of Ōtaki High School.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

④ Yakuimon (薬医門)

It is the only surviving building of the castle. This is the Ninomaru Goten gate (二の丸御殿の門), built after the fire of 1842.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

⑤ Ōido (大井戸)

The Great Well was dug by Honda Tadakatsu and is said to have never run dry.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

Looking up at the reconstructed keep in the Honmaru near the Ōido well. The cherry blossoms are just falling, and it looks gorgeous.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

⑥ Honmaru (本丸) - Reconstructed castle tower (復興天守)

The Honmaru has a reconstructed concrete keep built in 1975 (Showa 50). The building is now the Ōtaki Castle Branch of the Chiba Prefectural Central Museum.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

The keep from a different angle.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

These are the earthworks surrounding the Honmaru.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

⑦ Demaru (出丸)

The Demaru was established on the west side of the central citadel. The entrance to Demaru looks like a tiger's entrance, although it is not known if this was the case at the time.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

A bell tower is now located in the Demaru.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

⑧ The remains of the water supply (水道跡)

This water channel was dug in 1869 to solve the water shortage in the castle town. It is large enough for one person to stand and walk. It wasn't particularly off-limits, but it's a little scary, so I'll refrain.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

The Isumi River flows south of the castle. It is pretty deep, and attacking from here would have been difficult.

Ōtaki Castle (大多喜城)

Date of visit: 6 April 2014


  • Address: 481 Ōtaki, Isumi, Chiba 298-0216
  • Access: an 18-minute walk from Isumi Railway Ōtaki Station; 13 km from Ken-O Expressway Ichihara Tsurumai Interchange via Route 297
  • Parking: Castle parking lot (free: see point 'P' on the map above)
  • Other sites: Ōtaki Castle Town (Ōtaki Tourism Association)


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Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.


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Hiroto Uehara
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〒298-0216 千葉県夷隅郡大多喜町大多喜481

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