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Castle Mochifune Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Mochifune Castle (持舟城 Mochifune-jō) is a flat mountain castle (平山城 hirayamajō) facing the sea in Mochimune, Suruga Ward, Shizuoka City.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)


The castle was most likely built by the Imagawa. Sekiguchi Chikanaga (関口親長, the father of Tsukiyama-dono, Ieyasu's wife) was appointed castellan to defend Sumpu from the south. When Takeda Shingen invaded Sunpu in 1568, Mochifune Castle came under his control and became the base for the Takeda naval force. The Takeda were a cavalry force trained in the mountainous province of Kai, and it is difficult to imagine them as a naval force. The castellan and admiral, Mukai Masashige (向井正重, 1519-1579), was born in Ise.

After the Battle of Nagashino, the advancing Tokugawa forces reached Mochifune Castle. In 1579, the castle fell to the Tokugawa onslaught, and Masashige was killed. However, Takeda Katsuyori soon recaptured the castle and made Asahina Nobuoki (朝比奈信置, 1528-1582) the new castellan. In 1580, a naval battle with the Hōjō navy based at Nagahama Castle occurred; while the Takeda forces were at a disadvantage, Mukai Masatsuna, son of Masashige, fought hard to defend the castle. In 1582, before the fall of the Takeda clan, the castle was handed over to the Tokugawa and soon afterwards abandoned. Mukai Masatsuna went into hiding for a while after the fall but was soon called back by Ieyasu and became a boatman.

The castle:

The castle is situated on a small but steep mountain. As was typical of naval castles, at the time, the sea was close by the castle mountain, but today it is farther away from the sea.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

Aerial photographs taken from Geographical Survey Institute maps. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

Today, we walked from the JR Tōkaidō Main Line's Mochimune Station (用宗駅). Incidentally, the name of the place, Mochimune, is a corruption of Mochifune. Shiroyama is just north of the station, but there is no exit, so you must go around from the east side.

① Shiroyama Memorial Stone Monument (城山供養碑)

A memorial slab of the castle defenders lies halfway up.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

A shrine by the entrance to the castle. As befits a coastal town, boat anchors are dedicated to the shrine.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

② The entrance to the castle (登城口)

This is the entrance of the castle. There is no parking lot, but visitors can park their cars in front of the monument on the back side.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

From here, the road climbs up an agricultural road.

③ Asamayama Fortification (浅間山砦)

Below you can see the topography of the kuruwa remains.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

④ First kuruwa (一の曲輪)

I arrive at the first kuruwa. It took more than ten minutes from the entrance.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

⑤ Large moat (大堀切)

This is a moat on the western side of the Ichi no Kuruwa. The second kuruwa is on the opposite side.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

Overlooking the ocean. You can also see Mochimune Port.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

We continued down the mountain.

⑥ Daiun-ji Temple (大雲寺)

The back side of the temple is another entrance to the castle.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

⑦ The harbour site (船溜場)

According to the guide board, there once was a port in this very location.

Mochifune Castle (持舟城)

Date of visit: 17 February 2014



  • Address: 3 Mochimuneshiroyamacho, Suruga Ward, Shizuoka, 421-0124
  • Access: (to the entrance to the castle: a ten-minute walk from Mochimune Station on the JR Tokaido Main Line
    five kilometres from Tomei Expressway Shizuoka Interchange via Prefectural Route 150.
  • Parking: a free parking lot next to Asama Shrine (Spot 'P' on the above map).
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Moriyama Castle (Aichi)
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Hanazawa 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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Hiroto Uehara
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〒421-0124 静岡県静岡市駿河区用宗城山町3

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