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Castle Nerima Castle

Nerima Castle (練馬城 Nerima-jō) was constructed in the Muromachi Period. It is located in present-day Koyama, in the Nerima Ward of Tōkyō on the grounds of the former Toshimaen Amusement Park.

nerima-castle-01.jpg


Nerima Castle was probably built by the Toshima clan (豊島氏) at the end of the 14th century as a branch fortress of Shakujii Castle. According to legend, a certain Yano Shōgen (矢野将監) lived at this castle, which is why it was also called "Yano Yashiki" or "Yano Yamashiro". Another legend claims that someone by the name of Ebina Sakon (海老名左近) later settled there or in the valley to the north.

Toshimaen Amusement Park closed on 31 August 2020; it was originally conceived as a castle site park with playgrounds named after the Toshima clan. In 1476, the Toshima fought alongside Nagao Kageharu (長尾景春, 1433-1514) against the Uesugi clans of Yamauchi and Ōgigayatsu. During this rebellion, Nerima Castle and Shakujii Castle, both located between the two Uesugi castles of Edo and Kawagoe, played a significant role in cutting off communication between the Uesugi strongholds. The following year, on 13 April 1477, Ōta Dōkan, who served the Ōgigayatsu Uesugi as major-domo (執事 shitsuji) from his base at Edo Castle, attacked Nerima Castle and set fire to the surrounding area.

Following Dōkan's attack, Toshima Yasuaki (豊島泰明), based at Nerima Castle, alarmed his brother Yasutsune at Shakujii Castle and set out with his entire army. The two sides clashed in the Battle of Egota and Numabukurohara (江古田・沼袋原の戦い Egota Numabukuro hara no tatakai). Yasuaki and dozens of Toshima retainers were killed, while Yasutsune and other survivors, withdrew to Shakujii Castle. The prevailing theory is that Dōkan had set up an ambush in the vicinity of Egota. It is unclear what happened to Nerima Castle, but the castle was likely abandoned after Yasuaki's death and the defeat of his followers at Shakujii Castle. Most historians believed that Hiratsuka Castle was the first castle ever attacked by Dōkan, but it seems more likely that it was Nerima Castle.


The castle site is situated on a plateau on the south side of the Shakujii River, in the proximity of Toshimaen Hydropolis (豊島園のハイドロポリス) and a residential area. There are hardly any remains of ancient structures. The blue dotted line in the map below corresponds to what was believed to be the original castle grounds.

nerima-castle-02.jpg

Based on a map of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

I do not usually visit castles without remains. However, giving in to my daughter's imploration to visit the amusement park, we decided to go to Toshimaen. Nerima Castle was located on the plateau to the left of the main entrance. The reason why the amusement park was named Toshima-en was its relation to the Toshima clan. The local Tokyo ward also took its name from the castle (練馬区 Nerima-ku). Toshima-ku (豊島区) is adjacent to Nerima and famous for the town of Ikebukuro.

Most of the attractions of the amusement park were located on the northern side of the Shakujii River. While crossing the bridge, I turned around and took a photograph, but no remnants resemble a former castle.

nerima-castle-03.jpg


I found another vantage point. As 'Flume Ride' reached over the Shakujii River and turns back to the northern bank, I could take the photo below.

nerima-castle-04.jpg


As described above, Toshimaen already closed in 2020. And then the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Nerima Ward are going to purchase the land and to construct a "Nerima Castle Park".

Date of visit: 28 October 2013

Access:

  • Address: 3-25-1 Kōyama, Nerima-ku, Tōkyō 176-0022
  • Access: a 5-minute walk from Seibu Toshimayen Line, Toei Oedo Line Toshimaen Station.
  • Parking: Toshimaen Parking (paid: Spot 'P' pointed on the above map)
  • Other sights: Toshimaen Amusement Park (closed in August 2020)
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Reactions: Lothor and thomas
About author
Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.

Comments

I enjoyed that! I live about 20 min walk from there and walk along Shakuji-gawa most days. About the last part - I thought that the land had been bought by a big American company to build a Harry Potter theme park on.
 
Thank you for the comment. Toshimaen stretched over both banks of Shakujii River. Then Nerima Castle Park will be constructed on the south bank and Harry Potter theme park will be built on the opposite bank. If you have a chance to visit Harry Potter park in the future, I would like you to remember there was a real Japanese castle in the past, not only enjoy Hogwarts Castle.
 
According to Wikipedia:

The park closed on 31 August 2020 and will reopen as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: the making of Harry Potter - Tokyo around spring 2023. This will be the second Potter-themed attraction in Japan after The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka, and the second Studio Tour dedicated to the Wizarding World with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour located at Leavesden Studios (London). However, not all of the park's 22 hectares will be used for the new theme park. The majority of the Toshimaen site is slated to be purchased by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government after the park is closed and is planned to be a large park that serves as a base for use in the event of a disaster.
 

Article information

Author
Hiroto Uehara
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371
Comments
3
Last update
Location
〒176-8531 東京都練馬区向山3-25-1

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