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Castle Kajiki Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Kajiki Castle (加治木城 Kajiki-jō) was a mountain castle in former Ōsumi Province (modern-day eastern Kagoshima Prefecture) which had been used from the Nanboku-chō Period (1336-1392) to the Sengoku Period. It is located on a plateau which pushes out southwest towards the Kajiki Plain (加治木の平), the deepest part of the Kinko Bay (錦江湾). Amikake River flows to the north and Hikiyama River to the south.


The castle consisted of the western enclosure (西の丸 Nishinomaru), the main enclosure (本丸 honmaru), the second enclosure (二の丸 ninomaru), Ouma Castle (御馬城), Taka Castle (高城), Matsuo Castle (松尾城) and the Mondo Residence (主水屋敷 Mondo-yashiki).


The map is based on GSI Map by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. The location of enclosures is estimated.


It is unknown when the castle was erected, but it is said to be have been built by the local Okura clan (大蔵氏). Legend has it that the Okura adopted Tsunehira, the third son of kanpaku (関白, a chief advisor to the emperor) Fujiwara no Yoritada ((藤原 頼忠, 924-989). Tsunehira later adopted the Kajiki family name. The first time Kajiki Castle was mentioned was in 1495 when Shimazu Tadamasa (島津忠昌, 1463-1508) attacked Kajiki Castle to suppress a revolt of the Kajiki clan.

The castle entered the annals of Japanese military history in the Siege of Kajiki in 1549 when Ijuin Tada'aki (伊集院忠朗, 1520-1561), a vassal of the Shimazu clan, for the first time used Western arquebuses in combat. Tada'aki had been given a Portuguese matchlock gun by Tanegashima Tokitaka (種子島時尭, 1528-1579), the first daimyō to establish contact with European powers.

In addition, the castle was also conveyed with the first place where guns were used for the actual fighting in Japan. Shimazu vassal, Ijuin Tadaaki used a gun given by Tanegashima Tokitaka in 1549. Kajiki is also known as the place where Shimazu Yoshihiro (島津義弘, 1535-1619) secluded himself. He had stayed in the foot of the hill (somewhere around present-day Kajiki Highschool).

Visiting the castle

Driving along Prefectural Route 55 from Kagoshima Airport to Kajiki, we found the plateau just before Kajiki Interchange. We then turned right (turn left, if you come from the south). There is a guideboard of the castle just at the foot of the slope. We could have driven closer to the castle, but it is easier to park right in front of the board. As there are no directions for visitors and we were walking around a residential area we were careful not to behave too suspicious.

① The only guideboard with information about the castle. As there is a monument of "Ouma Daimyojin (御馬大明神, lit. "Gracious Deity of Horse") in this enclosure, it is called Ouma Castle (御馬城).


This cliff is a shirasu-daichi (シラス台地, a pyroclastic plateau). It is very brittle and falls apart when you scratch it with your fingernails.


② This is what seemed to be the second enclosure (二の丸 ninomaru).


There was a deep trench between main and second enclosure.


③ The location of the main enclosure (本丸 honmaru), nowadays obviously a private residence and a farm.


④ I assumed that this was the western enclosure (西の丸 nishinomaru). It seemed flatter than the other two enclosures.


I only learned later that the famous Ryūmon Falls (龍門滝) is located northwest of the castle. It is listed among the top 100 waterfalls in Japan.

Date of visit: 18 October 2013


  • Address: Kajiki-cho Tando, Aira-shi, Kagoshima
  • Transport: 25-minute walk from JR Nippo mainline Kajiki Station
    2km from Kyushu Expressway Kajiki Interchange via Prefectural Route 55
  • Parking: Open space in front of the guide board
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Kakuto Castle
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Matsushiro Castle
About author
Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.


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