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Castle Kiyosu Castle

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Kiyosu Castle (清洲城 Kiyosu-jō) is a flatland castle located in Kiyosu, Aichi Prefecture, along the Gojō River (五条川) five kilometres northwest of Nagoya Castle.



Although the exact circumstances are unclear, it is said that Shiba Yoshishige (斯波義重, 1371-1418) built the castle between 1394 and 1427. When Yoshishige was appointed shugo (守護, military governor) of Owari Province (modern-day eastern Aichi) in 1400, he moved the provincial headquarters to Orizu Castle (下津城), while Oda Toshisada (織田敏定, 1452-1495) was installed as shugodai (守護代, vice-governor) at Kiyosu Castle. In those days, the Oda were retainers of the Shiba clan. After the turbulences of the Ōnin War (1467-77) and the ensuing conflicts between the Shiba and the Oda, the latter conquered parts of Owari and destroyed Orizu Castle in 1478. Oda Nobuhide (織田信秀, 1510-1551) moved his headquarters back to Kiyosu Castle, and the town became the capital of Owari. Kiyosu was not only a centre of swordmaking but was also located at the strategically important junction of three major trade roads: the Tokaidō (東海道) which linked Kyōto to Kamakura and the east, the Tōzandō (東山道), linking to the northern provinces and the Nakasendō (中山道) which connected the two other arteries.

In 1553, Oda Nobutomo (織田信友, d.1555) took over the castle with the help of Shiba Yoshimune (斯波義統, 1513-1554), the last head of the Shiba clan. Nobutomo was the younger brother of Nobuhide, the father of the famous Oda Nobunaga. When Yoshimune exposed a conspiracy against Nobunaga, Nobutomo had him assassinated. In 1555, Oda Nobunaga took the castle and forced his uncle to commit suicide. His younger brother, Oda Nobuyuki (織田信行, 1536-1557) was killed at Kiyosu castle on Nobunaga's orders.

Nobunaga continued to unify Owari Province, fought against Imagawa Yoshimoto in the Battle of Okehazama, and then forged an alliance with Tokugawa Ieyasu. Sealed at the castle, it was called "Kiyosu Alliance". He continued his drive to unify Japan and moved his headquarters to Iwakura Castle in 1563. After Nobunaga's death at Honnō-ji Temple in 1582, the Kiyosu Meeting decided that Oda Nobukatsu, Nobunaga's second son, should be installed at Kiyosu Castle. Nobukatsu repaired it and extended the fortifications creating a vast castle complex with two donjons. After the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), Tokugawa Ieyasu decided to construct Nagoya Castle. He ordered his son, Tokugawa Yoshinao, to relocate to Nagoya and abandon Kiyosu Castle instead. This move was later called Kiyosu-koshi (清州越, Kiyosu Transfer) and led to the whole castle town be relocated to Nagoya. As Kiyosu Castle was dismantled and its material reused for the new castle at that time, there are almost no remains.

In 1989, a concrete replica of the donjon was inaugurated though it is nothing more than a representation of typical baileys of the period. The donjon was based on the bailey of Inuyama Castle.

Kiyosu Castle Map.jpg

Map of Kiyozu Castle

Visiting the castle

I started out at Meitetsu Line Shin-Kiyosu Station and walked along the Gojō River.

There is a memorial slab on the site of the former castle.


① The statues of Oda Nobunaga and his wife Noh-hime in Kiyosu Park. They were created in 1936.


② The replica castle tower seen from Ote Bridge (大手橋). It is a quite conspicuous castle tower but looks good impressive with its red bridge.


③ The entrance of Kiyosu Castle


In the tower museum, many exhibits relating to the history of Kiyosu are on display. It was impressive to see that many families with children visited the site. I believe that animation series such as Nintama Rantarō (忍たま乱太郎, "Rantarō the Ninja Boy") and other attractions such as trying on samurai armour contribute to the popularity of historical locations. In addition, visitors can watch the trailer of the movie "The Kiyosu Conference" (清須会議 Kiyosu Kaigi, 2013) by the famous movie director Mitani Kōki.

I was looking towards Nagoya from the observation platform. Unfortunately, the weather was far from good as a typhoon passed by.


Date of visit: 15 September 2013


  • Address: Asahi Shiro-yashiki, Kiyosu-shi, Aichi
  • Transport: a 15-minute walk from Meitetsu Mainline Shin-Kiyosu Station
    A 15-minute walk from JR Tokaido Line Kiyosu Station
    2km from Nagoya Expressway Kiyosu Exit
  • Other sights: Nagoya Castle, Inuyama Castle
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Tatebayashi Castle
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Inuyama 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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