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Walking the Japanese Castles

Walking the Japanese Castles

Iwatsuki Castle (岩槻城) was constructed in the mid-15th century in what is now Saitama City in Saitama Prefecture. It was the residence of the Ota (太田) clan in the early 16th century and afterwards taken over by the Late Hōjō. During Toyotomi Hideyoshi's siege of Odawara Castle in 1590, the castle...
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Shakujii Castle (石神井城 Shakujii-jō) was located in what is nowadays Shakujii Park in Nerima Ward, western Tokyo. It was constructed in the late Kamakura Period (1185-1333) by the Toshima clan (豊島氏), very likely on older structures dating back to the Heian Period. I visited the castle grounds...
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Oda Castle (小田城) is a Japanese flatland castle located in Ibaraki Prefecture. It faces the scenic Mount Tsukuba in the north. The map is based on Google Earth. Since the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), members of the distinguished Oda clan had been the successive lords of the castle. During...
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Tsuchiura Castle (土浦城 Tsuchiura-jō) is a flatland castle (平城 hirajiro) located in the wetlands along the western shore of Lake Kasumigaura, at the mouth of the Sakuragawa (桜川), in Ibaraki Prefecture. It is also known as Kijō (亀城, Turtle castle), because in times of severe flooding it looked...
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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...
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Inohana Castle (亥鼻城 ), also known as Chiba Castle, is located in Chiba City and was constructed on the Inohana Plateau, close to the present-day Chiba Prefectural Office. The Chiba clan (千葉氏), a cadet branch of the Kanmu Heike clan,* established a fortification there as early as 1126. For some...
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Once upon a time, right in the centre of Tōkyō's Setagaya Ward near the present-day ward office, there was a small fortress called Setagaya Castle (世田谷城). The ancient castle was located on the tip of a tongue-shaped plateau that stretched south from the hills between Gōtōkuji (豪徳寺駅) and Kyōdō...
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When you cross Edo River on Keisei Line toward Chiba, you see a vast plateau on the opposite bank. This is the Kōnodai (国府台) plateau with its long history that not only encompasses a Sengoku-era castle but reaches back to Paleolithic settlements. This map is based on Tokyo Terrain Map by...
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Usui Castle (臼井城) is a hilltop castle near present-day Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. Its ruins are now part of Usui Castle Park. The castle is located on a plateau overlooking Lake Imbanuma to the north-east. According to legend Usui Tsuneyasu (臼井常安, 1106-1168) founded the castle. The...
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Sakura Castle (佐倉城 Sakura-jō) is located in the city of Sakura in Chiba Prefecture and was constructed on the 30-meter-high Kashima plateau. Due to its elaborate use of the natural topography, it was an impregnable location surrounded by marshes and rivers. The map is based on Google Earth...
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The remains of Kozukue Castle (小机城 Kozukue-jō) are located in present-day Kōhoku Ward, Yokohama. The castle was thought to be built by the Uesugi clan during the Eikyō Rebellion (永享の乱 Eikyō-no-ran) in 1438/39. The Uesugi were a powerful samurai family that descended from the Fujiwara, and that...
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Masugata Castle (枡形城 Masugata-jō) is located in Tama Ward, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. The castle was constructed on a hill facing the southern banks of Tama River. This map is based on Tokyo Terrain Map powered by Gridscapes.net. The castle site formed a formidable stronghold...
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Koga City is situated on the westernmost tip of Ibaraki Prefecture, at the confluence of Tone River in the south and Watarase River in the west. The town prospered as an important traffic point along the Nikko Highway. Koga Castle (古河城 Koga-jō) was built in the late Heian Era on the banks of the...
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This article is about castle ruins that are a little bit different from what we usually explore. Tenjinyama Castle (天神山城) is located in Nagatoro, Saitama Prefecture, on top of a hill on the eastern bank of the Arakawa River. The map is based on Google Earth; the location of the enclosure...
Ogura Castle (小倉城) is a Sengoku-era hilltop castle located in Tokigawa Town, Saitama Prefecture. It stretched over three mountain ridges and was situated just 600 metres from the Tsuki River, forming a natural stronghold that allowed to monitor the traffic on the river. It was fortified with...
Sugaya Castle (菅谷城) is located in Ranzan, Hiki District, in Saitama Prefecture and allegedly the site of the former residence of Hatakeyama Shigetada, an important retainer of the Kamakura Shogunate in the early Kamakura period (1185-1333). The castle was designated a National Historic Site in...
Sugiyama Castle (杉山城 Sugiyama-jō) was a hilltop castle located in modern-day Ranzan, Saitama Prefecture. Constructed on a mountain ridge at the edge of the Kantō plain it was overlooking the old Kamakura Highway, the modern-day Kanetsu Expressway. Making a perfect use of the steep topography...
Takagi Taneyoshi (高城 胤吉, 1484 or 1501-1565), a vassal of the Hara clan, built Kogane Castle (小金城) in 1537 by order of the Chiba clan, themselves descendants of the Taira and rulers of Shimōsa Province (in modern-day Chiba). The Takagi controlled large lands in northwestern Chiba, including...
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Kokokuji Castle (興国寺城 Kōkokuji-jō, also known as 根古屋城 Negoya-jō) is located in Numazu in Shizuoka Prefecture. It was constructed sometime between 1469 and 1487 and given to Hōjō Soun (or Ise Shinkuro at that time) for services rendered to the Imagawa clan. The rise of the Late Hōjō in the Kantō...
Nagahama Castle (長浜城 Nagahama-jō) is located on the southern edge of Numazu City in Izu Peninsula (Shizuoka Prefecture). The hilltop castle was a naval base built in 1579 by the Late Hōjō. After the invasion of Suruga (modern-day Shizuoka) in 1569, the Takeda finally had access to the sea and...

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