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Castle Kakuto Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Kakuto Castle (加久藤城 Kakuto-jō) was a hilltop-type castle located in modern-day Ebino-shi, Miyazaki Prefecture, an important junction in southern Kyūshū that connected routes between Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Miyazaki.


The first castle in situ was built by the local Kitahara clan (北原氏) in the Ōei period (1394-1428). It was called Hisafuji Castle (久藤城) and conceived as an auxiliary fortress of Tokumitsu Castle (徳満城 Tokumitsu-jō). When the Kitahara clan was overthrown in 1562, the Shimazu took over the territory. Shimazu Yoshihiro (島津義弘, 1535-1619) expanded the fortification and renamed it to Kakuto Castle in 1564. Yoshihiro put his vassal Kawakami Tadatomo (川上忠智, d. 1607) along with his heir of the Hirose clan (広瀬氏), Tsuruhisamaru (鶴寿丸), in charge of the castle.

In 1572, the Itō clan who had established power in Hyūga Province (日向国 Hyūga no kuni, modern-day Miyazaki) invaded Shimazu territory with an army of 3,000 under Itō Sukeyasu (伊東祐安, d.1572). They attacked Kabayama Jōkei Mansion (樺山浄慶の屋敷) and the castle itself from Akake (鑰掛). The assault from the rear in the north was blocked by a cliff and foiled by the stubborn resistance of the defenders. The Itō army retreated to Kibaruzaki and was completely routed by Shimazu Yoshihiro who came to relieve the beleaguered castle. Yoshihiro and the defenders gained a great victory, killing several Itō generals including Sukeyasu. The battle came to be known as the "Battle of Kibaruzaki" (木原崎の戦い), an important turning point in the relations between the Shimazu and the Itō. The Itō clan was finally annihilated in 1577.

In 1576, Tsuruhisamaru died at the age of 8. In the Meiji era, a Shinto-style tombstone dedicated to Tsuruhisamaru was erected on the path leading up to the castle. Kakuto Castle was abandoned in 1615 in the wake of the "one castle per domain edict' (一国一城令 Ikkokuichijō rei).


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

I visited the castle by car, leaving Kyūshū Expressway at Ebino Interchange and driving down National Route 221, where I found the castle sign and turned off. As there was no parking lot, I had to park along the narrow road around the main gate. The road was too narrow to drive, except perhaps for small kei trucks.

① Site of Main Gate (大手門 Ōtemon)


Open space in front of the main enclosure (本丸下の広場)


I suppose there were some remains of the original structure, as the earthworks were hook-shaped.


This is a part of the earthworks around the honmaru (本丸).


② The site of the honmaru; it consists of two steps, and this is the lower level.


A small shrine is located on the upper level of the honmaru, as well as the cliff that prevented the Itō army from advancing any further.


③ The site of the second enclosure (二の丸 ninomaru).


Given the relatively small size of the castle and its inconspicuous features, it is hard to imagine that such a fierce battle took place at that very spot.

Date of visit: 18 September 2013


  • Address: Oda, Ebino-shi, Miyazaki
  • Transport: 25-minute walk from JR Kitto Line Ebino Station
    2km from Kyushu Expressway Ebino Interchange via National route 268
  • Parking: none (just park at the roadside)
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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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