What's new

Travel Shinagawa Battery (Odaiba)

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Leave a rating

Shinagawa Battery Islands (品川台場)


In the late Edo period (1600-1868), the Tokugawa shogunate deployed artillery batteries along the Japanese coastline to defend the shores against a possible incursion of foreign naval forces. Shinagawa had the pivotal role of protecting Edo, modern-day Tōkyō. Nowadays, this area of the city is called 'O-daiba' (お台場), named after the batteries (daiba).

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

History:


The shogunate started construction in August 1853, just one month after Commodore Perry of the United States had reached the Japanese coast at Uraga at the mouth of Edo Bay. Initially, the bakufu planned to construct eleven batteries off the coast of Shinagawa and Fukagawa. The architect was a daikan (代官, local magistrate) of Izu Nirayama by the name of Egawa Tarozaemon Hidetatsu (江川太郎左衛門英龍). Five batteries (No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6) were completed within just a year and three months, while the construction of No. 4 was stopped due to financial difficulties and the conclusion of a friendship treaty with the United States. Another battery, the Gotenyamashita Battery (御殿山下台場), was constructed further inland. At any rate, the shogunate had enough workforce and civil engineers to build those naval defences relatively quickly. More information on the construction is listed on the website of the Japan Dredging and Reclamation Engineering Association (in Japanese).

The five batteries are visible in this old aerial photograph taken in 1948.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

Based on the Aerial Photograph Searching Service of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

The aerial photograph below shows almost the same area as the picture above. The shogunate planned to form a linear defence line, including the uncompleted batteries Nos. 7 to 11.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

Based on the Aerial Photograph Searching Service of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

After the Second World War, during Japan's economic recovery, No. 1 and No. 5 batteries were dismantled in land reclamation projects. No. 2 was removed in 1941 because it interfered with shipping lanes and the operations at Shinagawa Port. No. 4 and Gotenyamashita batteries had already been demolished in the Meiji Period, only No. 3 and No. 6 batteries survived to this day.

Visiting the batteries:


I visited Shinagawa Battery (Daiba) in June 2013 and revisited it in January 2014 to revise the article.

First, I visited the site of the Gotenyamashita battery, nowadays home to Daiba Elementary School. In front of the school gate is a small monument modelled on the lighthouse on the stone wall of the battery.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

The park next to the school has also been named 'Daiba'.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

I continued to the No. 4 battery near Tennōzu Isle Station (天王洲アイル駅). Parts of the stone wall have survived, now used as a seawall. It is called 'Kuzure daiba' (崩れ台場. "collapsed battery"). The building next to the battery is called 'Sea Fort', a very appropriate name.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

Next, I walked around Shinagawa Wharf, the site of No. 1 and No. 5 batteries. Below is the location where I believe No. 1 was situated. However, there aren't any remains or memorials.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

I figured the No. 5 battery had to be located northeast of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau. I found an eatery named 'Shinagawa Daiba Restaurant' near that location.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

Then I walked across Rainbow Bridge. The batteries are only visible from the pedestrian walkway on the south side. Below is a photo of the No. 6 battery (第六台場 Dai-Roku Daiba). As it is off-limits to the public, it became a seabird roost.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

Below is a photo of the No. 3 battery (第三台場 Dai-San Daiba). There were no other visitors, as it was a particularly freezing day.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

A schematic drawing of the No. 3 battery.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

No. 3 battery can be accessed from Odaiba-Kaihinkōen Station (お台場海浜公園駅).

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

The square-shaped battery is large, about 150m on each side, and much larger than I had expected.
A little above the courtyard are the remains of the camp.

The battery, a square shape with 150 meters on a side, was larger than I expected. Remains of the former camp can still be found inside the court.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

I suppose the construction below was a loading dock to transfer supplies from the sea.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

Below are the remains of a powder magazine.

Shinagawa Daiba (お城散歩)

Date of visit: 8 June 2013, 11 January 2014

Access:

  • Location: No. 3 battery, Daiba, Minato-ku, Tōkyō.
    No. 4 battery, Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tōkyō: north of Sea Fort Square (シーフォートスクエア).
    Gotenyamashita battery: Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tōkyō: around Daiba Elementary School.
  • Access: No. 3: a 10-minute walk from Yurikamome Line Odaiba-Kaihinkōen Station (お台場海浜公園駅).
    No. 4 battery: a 3-minute walk from Tōkyō Monorail Tennōzu Isle Station (天王洲アイル駅).
    Gotenyamashita battery: a 6-minute walk from Keikyu Mainline Kita-Shinagawa Station (北品川駅).
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Tamba Kameyama Castle
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Kanayama Castle
  • Like
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

There are no comments to display.

Series table of contents

Iwatsuki Castle Shakujii Castle Oda Castle Tsuchiura Castle Miharu Castle Inohana Castle Setagaya Castle Konodai Castle Usui Castle Sakura Castle Kozukue Castle Masugata Castle Koga Castle Tenjinyama Castle Ogura Castle Sugaya Castle Sugiyama Castle Kogane Castle Kokokuji Castle Nagahama Castle (Izu) Nirayama Castle Hachigata Castle Futagamiyama Castle Edo Castle Kawahara Castle Kageishi Castle Wakasa-Onigajo Castle Tenjinyama Castle (Tottori) Tsuzurao Castle Ueshi Castle Jindaiji Castle Kururi Castle Mariyatsu Castle Narukami Castle Ryozen Castle Kori-Nishiyama Castle Tsutsujigasaki Residence Yogai Castle Kofu Castle Iwadono Castle Hachioji Castle Takiyama Castle Suemori Castle Nagoya Castle Inuyama Castle Kiyosu Castle Tatebayashi Castle Sano Castle Karasawayama Castle Ueda Castle Sanada Residence Sanada Honjo Toishi Castle Katsurao Castle Uchiyama Castle Hiraga Clan Castle Taguchi Castle Tatsuoka Castle Komoro Castle Matsushiro Castle Kajiki Castle Kakuto Castle Hitoyoshi Castle Ichiuji Castle Izaku Castle Chiran Castle Kiyoshiki Castle Kamo Castle Miyakono Castle Obi Castle Shibushi Castle Koyama Castle Mukasa Castle Sadowara Castle Tonokoori Castle Taka Castle Nerima Castle Kawagoe Castle Ashikaga Residence Koizumi Castle Kanayama Castle Shinagawa Battery (Odaiba) Tamba Kameyama Castle Yagi Castle Sonobe Castle Fushimi Castle Yodo Castle Shoryuji Castle Yamazaki Castle Tsukui Castle Katakura Castle Hirayama Castle Site Park Yamanaka Castle Sanuki Castle Sunpu Castle Koyama Castle (Shizuoka) Ryugenzan Castle Sagara Castle Tanaka Castle (Shizuoka) Ishiwaki Castle Hanazawa Castle Mochifune Castle Moriyama Castle (Aichi) Obata Castle (Aichi) Ryusenji Castle Gakuden Castle Komakiyama Castle Iwakura Castle (Aichi) Kano Castle Gifu Castle Kitagata Castle Sone Castle Ōgaki Castle Ōtaki Castle Obata Castle (Ibaraki) Mito Castle Kasama Castle Tanagura Castle Akadate Castle Inawashiro Castle Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle Mukai-Haguroyama Castle

Article information

Author
Hiroto Uehara
Article read time
3 min read
Views
2,692
Last update
Location
〒135-0091 東京都港区台場1丁目10−10番1号

More in Tokyo

More from Hiroto Uehara

Back
Top Bottom