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Castle Fushimi Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Fushimi Castle (伏見城 Fushimi-jō) is located in the Fushimi district of Kyōto . It is also known as Momoyama Castle (桃山城 Momoyama-jō) or Fushimi-Momoyama Castle. Toyotomi Hideyoshi built the castle as a residence in the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The current structure is a replica constructed in 1964 close to the original site in Fushimi.

Fushimi Castle (伏見城) 1


In 1592, Toyotomi Hideyoshi had the castle built as his residence on the hill called Shigetsu-no-oka (指月の丘) beside Uji River. It was called Shigetsuyama Fushimi Castle (指月山伏見城). When this castle was destroyed in the Keichō-Fushimi Earthquake (慶長伏見地震) in 1596, Hideyoshi moved the castle to the nearby hill to the north called Kohatayama (木幡山). Hideyoshi chose this location because it was not only close to Kyōto but also convenient to reach Ōsaka Castle on the Uji River. In 1597, the five-storey castle tower was completed there and named Kohatayama Fushimi Castle (木幡山伏見城). In 1598, Hideyoshi died at the castle.


Torii Mototada (鳥居 元忠, 1539-1600)

In the battles before Sekigahara, the castle was severely damaged during attacks. After Hideyoshi's death, Tokugawa Ieyasu took over the castle. In 1600, just after Ieyasu's army left for his expedition to Aizu, he confronted Ukita Hideie (宇喜多 秀家, 1573-1655) with forty-thousand troops attacking the castle. Torii Mototada (鳥居 元忠, 1539-1600), one of Ieyasu's vassals and defenders, succeeded in delaying the Western army of Ishida Mitsunari for eleven days, which allowed Ieyasu to raise his army. Mototada and his defenders committed suicide when the castle finally fell. The siege triggered the Battle of Sekigahara. After the battle, Tokugawa Ieyasu had the castle restored. Later, however, Ieyasu intended to concentrate the defence function in Kyoto on Nijō Castle, and Fushimi Castle was abandoned. In 1619, the castle fell under the shogunate's decree of "only one castle per province" (一国一城冷 ikkoku ichijō-rei) and was demolished by 1625. Its building materials, rooms, and gates were used for other castles and temples: the "Chinese-style" gate (唐門 karamon) of the Nishi Hongan-ji is said to have come from this castle.

The castle complex:

As with many hill castles, the innermost area, the honmaru (本丸), is surrounded by other irregularly shaped areas, the ni-no-maru (二ノ丸), san-no-maru (三ノ丸) and yon-no-maru (四ノ丸). In addition, the castle was protected by numerous other defences:
  • Jibusho-maru (治部少丸),
  • O-hanabatake-Sansō (御花畠山荘),
  • Tokuzen-maru (徳善丸),
  • Matsu-no-maru (松の丸),
  • Nagoya-maru (名護屋丸),
  • Ōkura-maru (大倉丸),
  • Danjō-maru (弾正丸),
  • Sanri-maru (山里丸) and
  • Taki-no-yashiki (瀧の屋敷).
To the south of the hill was a boat landing, Go-funa-iri (御舟入). To the south was also the main gate (大手門 ōtemon). Another important gate, (東大手門 Higashi-ōtemon), was located to the east. The castle was completely demolished in the 1620s, so it is not well documented. Remains of the Northern Moat (北堀 Kitabori) in Fushimikitabori Park have been preserved. Excavations are limited because the tombs of the Meiji-Tennō and his consort Shōken are located on the southern slope. In addition, the tomb of the 8th-century Kammu Tennō is situated near the castle grounds. In 1963, part of the castle was rebuilt in concrete on the site of the Hanabatake-Sansō. The large tower was modelled on Himeji Castle, the small tower on Hikone Castle.

It was only after the castle was demolished and the area planted with peach trees that the name Momoyama (桃山, "peach mountain") was given to the castle hill, after which an entire artistic period, the Azuchi-Momoyama period, was later named.

Fushimi Castle (伏見城) 2

Based on the Aerial Photograph Service of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

Visiting the castle:

I went there on Kintetsu Nara Line from Kyōto Station and got off at Tambabashi Station. From there, I walked in an easterly direction. There are no particular routes or signs; after passing through a residential area, I walked up the slope and found the hill below after passing through a residential area.

Fushimi Castle (伏見城) 3

I arrived at Fushimi-Momoyama-jō Athletic Park. It was closed because of the year-end vacation.

Fushimi Castle (伏見城) 3

The castle tower is quite magnificent, but it is a replica. Kintetsu built it as Fushimi-Momoyama Castle Land in the corner of the castle ruins (the former honmaru is now the mausoleum of Emperor Meiji , as mentioned above). Castle Land is currently closed, and the site has been turned into Momoyama Sports Park, but the castle tower is not open to the public.

Fushimi Castle (伏見城) 5

Date of visit: 30 December 2013


  • Address: Momoyamacho Okura, Fushimi Ward, Kyōto, 612-8051
  • Access: a 15-minute walk from Keihan Main Line, Kintetsu Nara Line Tambabashi Station
    5 kilometres from Meishin Expressway Kyoto-Minami Interchange via Tambabashi Avenue
  • Parking: Fushimi-Momoyama-jō Athletic Park (charge: Spot 'P' pointed in the map above)
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Yodo Castle
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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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〒612-8051 京都府京都市伏見区桃山町大蔵

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