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Castle Katakura Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Katakura Castle (片倉城 Katakura-jō) is a Sengoku-era flatland mountain castle (平山城 hirayamajō) located on the tip of a hill overhanging the confluence of the Yudono (湯殿川) and Hyōe (兵衛川) rivers, about 1 kilometre south of Hachiōji. It has steep hills on three sides to the north, east and south, but the hillside from the west is flat. The castle consists of a honmaru (inner bailey) and a ninomoaru (second enceinte) separated by a deep moat. There is a moat to the west of the second fortress, and it is possible that the castle was one of three fortifications that together formed a fortress.


Katakura Castle (片倉城)

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


Katakura Castle (片倉城)

It is not clear when the castle was constructed, but according to the Shinpen Musashi Fudokikō (新編武蔵風土記稿), a geographical description of Musashi Province from the early 19the​ century, it was built in the Ōei era (応永, 1394-1428), either by the Oe clan (大江氏) or their descendants, the Nagai (長井氏), but there is no proof to corroborate those claims.

katakura-castle-02a.jpg

It is difficult to pinpoint the construction date of the castle, but from comparisons with other medieval castles such as the Jindaiji Castle Ruins, it is estimated that the castle was built in the late 15th century or later and abandoned in the 16th century. The site is now Katakura Castle Ruins Park (現在片倉城跡公園).

Visitors will soon see a small hill by getting off at Katakura Station on the JR Yokohama Line and walking toward the castle ruins.


Katakura Castle (片倉城)
The park entrance was closed due to construction. Visitors can enter the park and follow the path up the hill.


Katakura Castle (片倉城)

① Ruins of the honmaru (本丸跡)

The hill is not very high, and visitors will soon reach the top. This is the eastern tip of the hillside.


Katakura Castle (片倉城)

Below: a shallow moat between the honmaru and the ninomaru.


Katakura Castle (片倉城)

② Ruins of the ninomaru (二の丸跡)

This one is quite large. Although it is not a steep keystone, it is a little elevated and seems just right for building a castle.

Katakura Castle (片倉城)

A little creek further down on the west side of the ninomaru.

Katakura Castle (片倉城)

③ Mikaeri-dai (見返台)

This is the location of what is believed to be possibly the third enclosure on the west side.


Katakura Castle (片倉城)

This is the Yudono River, flowing north of the castle. A little further on, visitors can reach Keiō Katakura Station and Hachiōji Station.

Katakura Castle (片倉城)


Date of visit: 3 January 2014


Access:

  • Address: 2475 Katakuramachi, Hachiōji, Tōkyō 192-0914
  • Access: a 5-minute walk from JR Yokohama Line Katakura station, or 9 minutes from Keiō Takao line Keiō-katakura Station.
    6 kilometres from Chūō Expressway Hachiōji Interchange via National Route 16
  • Parking: Castle Park parking lot (free of charge).
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Hirayama Castle Site Park
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Tsukui 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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