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Castle Miharu Castle

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This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Miharu Castle (三春城) is located in Miharu-machi in the Abukuma Mountains, 10km east of Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture. As an old castle town, Miharu has many temples and a picturesque town centre held in traditional Japanese style. In 2017, Miharu Castle was added to the 'Continued 100 Fine Castles of Japan' (日本続百名城 Nihon Zoku Hyaku-Meijō).

Miharu Castle (三春城)

During the Edo Period (1600-1868) the residence of the daimyō was situated
on the grounds of the current elementary school.

The castle lies on a hill called Shiroyama and faces the eastern boroughs of the town. Very few original buildings survived, only the Hanko Gate (Hanko was a school founded by the Tamura clan) is still on display at the entrance to Miharu Elementary School.

Miharu Castle (三春城)

Based on the maps of the Geographical Survey Institute. The locations of the enclosures are estimated.

① Meitokumon (明徳門)
There are few surviving buildings, but the only surviving school gate of the clan school, Meitokudo, was installed at the entrance to Miharu Elementary School.

Miharu Castle (三春城)

② The lord's residence (藩主屋敷跡)
The lord's residence was located at the western foot of Shiroyama, at the current site of Miharu Elementary School. During the Edo period, the local administration was stationed here.

Miharu Elementary School

③ Ninomaru (二ノ丸)
The Ninomaru was located on a ridge extending northwest from the summit. It is now a park.

Miharu Castle (三春城)

④ Honmaru (本丸)
The honmaru is surrounded by steep cliffs. The photo at the beginning shows the stone walls that remain in the surrounding area.

Miharu Castle (三春城)

The honmaru is an L-shaped, broadly cut section with two levels. The lower level of the honmaru is marked with a sign saying 'Ruins of the Ninomaru'.

Miharu Castle (三春城)

Below the upper section of the honmaru with a cenotaph related to the Akita clan.

Miharu Castle (三春城)

The ruins of Karametemon (搦手門) on the north side of the honmaru.

Miharu Castle (三春城)


Miharu Castle (三春城)

Honmaru

Miharu Castle (三春城)

Sadly, few original structures like yagura or stone walls
have survived; the view, however, was splendid.


On the day of our visit, a historical parade was held. Locals in various costumes from the Heian Era to modern times, including a military commander, a soldier and a court lady, participated.

Miharu Castle (三春城)
Miharu Castle (三春城)
Miharu Castle (三春城)
Miharu Castle (三春城)


During the Sengoku Period, the Tamura clan (田村氏) governed the region and founded Miharu Castle in 1504. It is said that the famous Sei-i Taishōgun (征夷大将軍, "Barbarian‐subduing Generalissimo") Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (坂上田村麻呂, 758-811) had been their ancestor.

The most famous person in the Tamura clan must be...

Megohime (愛姫)


... Megohime (愛姫, also known as Yoshihime, 1568-1653), the wife of Date Masamune, one of the most eminent warlords in the Tohoku area.

The Tamura clan was attainted in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's so-called Ōshū Shioki (奥州仕置, punitive action against the Tohoku warlords), but Megohime bestowed her family name onto one of her sons to preserve the clan. The castle was then handed over to Gamo Ujisato, then the ruler of Aizu. After the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Gamo were relocated to Shikoku, while Katō Yoshiaki (加藤嘉明, 1563-1631) was transferred from Aizu to Miharu. In 1627, Yoshiaki separated the area around Miharu Town and created a small domain (of 30,000 koku) for his son Katō Akitoki. Just a year later, the local peasants revolted against the rule of the Katō, and the domain was placed under the control of Matsushita Nagatsuna (松下長綱), the ruler of the neighbouring fief of Nihonmatsu. Demoted to hatamoto in 1644, Miharu was transferred from the Matsushita to Akita Toshisue (秋田俊季, 1598-1649). The Akita, originally Dewa landlords, held Miharu until the abolition of the domain system in 1871.

Date of visit: 5 May 2013

Access Information

  • Address: Omachi, Miharu, Tamura District, Fukushima 963-7759
  • Transportation: a 30-minute walk from JR Ban-Etsu East line Miharu Station
    4km from Ban-Etsu Expressway Funehiki-Miharu Interchange via National Route 288
  • Other sights: Miharu History and Folk Museum
    Miharu-machi Sightseeing Map (in Japanese)
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Inohana Castle
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Tsuchiura 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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Hiroto Uehara
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三春城 本丸跡

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