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Castle Sano Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Sano Castle (佐野城) is located in Sano, Tochigi Prefecture. Sano was the administrative centre of the domain by the same name. The remains of the castle are situated on a hill that stretches some 390 metres from north to south and 110 metres from east to west. It comprised the third enclosure (三の丸 san-no-maru), second enclosure (二の丸 ni-no-maru), the inner bailey (本丸 honmaru) and Kitade Enclosure which all line up in a linear fashion. Furthermore, the castle was surrounded by an inner and an outer moat.

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The map is based on Google Earth. All locations are estimated.

In 1602, Sano Nobuyoshi (佐野信吉, 1566-1622) began to construct Sano Castle not far from Karasawayama Castle (唐沢山城), one of the seven formidable castles of northern Kantō that the clan had been forced to give up. According to legend, when a fire had broken out at Edo Castle in the same year, the Sano were able to spot it from Karasawayama and sent a message of support to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Apparently, Ieyasu was displeased that Karasawayama "looked down" on Edo Castle and ordered the relocation of the fortress.

Nobuyoshi had Soshu-ji Temple (惣宗寺) on the hill transferred and the new castle built on the same location, moving there in 1607. Sano soon developed into a small castle town. However, the Sano was dispossessed in 1614, and the new castle was abandoned after a few years.

The former castle is now the location of Shiroyama Park.

① Sano Station exit and the site of Sano Castle are directly connected. Although some castle sites are located adjacent to stations, it is rare that they are directly connected.

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② The location of the third enclosure is now a playground for children.

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③ A monument stands at the entrance of the second enclosure. There are some parking lots between the second and third enclosure, and visitors can enter from the east side.

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This is the western view from the second enclosure. Its relative height does not exceed 10metres, but the view is unexpectedly good because of the flat surroundings.

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③ A trench was constructed between the main and second enclosure.

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④ In the honmaru, old stone pavements and stone walls were discovered. The original remains were backfilled for preservation, but some stones are displayed.

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A trench was constructed between the main and Kitade Enclosure as well.

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⑤ This is the northern end of the castle grounds, Kitade Enclosure.

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Description of the castle and its history

Date of visit: 22 September 2013

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Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Karasawayama Castle
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Tatebayashi 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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佐野城 三の丸跡

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