Ne Castle 根城
Founder Moroyuki Nanbu
Nanbu
Year 1334
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Reconstructed 1994
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Hachinohe, Aomori Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Hachinohe Sta. (Tohoku Main Line), 15 min bus, 5 min walk
Website Hachinohe City Museum
Visited May 21, 2010
Notes The reconstructed buildings at Ne Castle are really fantastic. They were all done using original materials and techniques. Archeological excavations uncovered the locations for the pillars and walls of each building and found enough artifacts to understand the function of each building. What we don't know for sure is how each building was made so the park has reconstructed a variety of different building types and roof types to be representative of the architectures at that time. The signs are all in Japanese but they often have very good illustrations that help you understand without the explanation. If you can speak even some Japanese, ask one of the volunteer guides at the gate to go with you. They are a wealth of knowledge about the history of the castle, the excavations, and trivia about the different building techniques and types. I spent well over 2 hours visiting the site and chatting with a couple of the guides. Ne Castle is highly recommended for history, castle or architecture fans. Ne Castle is from the time period before the flourishing of castle construction so it is a little bit different from what you might expect. There are still gates, baileys, and watchtowers, but there is no main keep, little or not stonework, and the walls are wooden posts fences on the outside and slat wood walls in the central compound. Hachinohe City is also (until 2011) the final stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen.
History Moroyuki Nanbu built Ne Castle in 1334 during the period known as the Northern & Southern Courts Period. Under allegiance to the Southern Court, Nanbu established Ne Castle to become the center of imperial government in the area. Another branch of the same Nanbu family actually ruled the Sannohe and Morioka area for the Northern Court at the same time. In 1393 at the end of this Northern & Southen Courts period, the 2 families also made peace with each other. During the Sengoku Period, the 18th generation Nanbu (Masayuki Nanbu) was a daimyo loyal to Toyotomi HIdeyoshi. After the Battle of Odawara, Masayuki was made a retainer of Nobunao Nanbu from Sannohe. In 1627, Nanbu Naoyoshi was moved to Tohno (Iwate Pref.) and the Nanbu lord from Sannohe moved to Hachinohe where he established a new castle, Hachinohe Castle, to the East of Ne Castle closer to the ocean.

In the picture above, notice how the path splits after the bridge and goes to two different gates. The path on the left is covered with white gravel and goes to a more ornate gate. This gate was used for the lord and guests. The path on the right is a simple dirt path that leads to a simple gate of swinging doors (heijuumon). This gate was for servants and workers.

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  • furinkazan on My Page    May 24, 2015 at 08:52 PM
    I completely agree with the webmaster's notes. This is a very interesting site to visit. Exiting from the east exit of Hachinohe station, take the bus P8 at busstop #1, get off at Nejô busstop. Before arriving there you'll see the castle-site to your left. The ride costs 200¥. The entrance fee for the museum, which i also recommend, and the castle is 400¥. I had a chat with a guide at the honmaru. He told me several interesting things and he showed me a gingko tree which was 700 years old. It was there when the castle was build. The guide and other persons in the area liked my t-shirt. I wore one with the fūrinkazan on it. Apparently the Nanbu are related to the Takeda. One of their kamon is the yonbishi. The Nanbu moved from Kai province some time before the building of Nejô. The bus to Hachinohe station is the 60 or 63. There are several other busses passing at the Nejô busstop, but they don't go to this station.
  • Eric    September 25, 2012 at 08:17 PM
    Ben, thanks for sharing! That's a great story. I always thought about sending them a letter of thanks with a link to this writeup. It really underscores that you can never go wrong with volunteer guides at these sites.
  • Ben Crabtree    September 25, 2012 at 03:10 PM
    For the past 5 or 6 years my wife and I have been visiting Japan for 3 weeks a year and try to visit about 10 castles each time. Before each trip I visit this website to get information beyond what is in my 100 Important Castle book. When we visited Nei Jo this week, we took your suggestion and asked for a volunteer to show us around (my wife speaks Japanese, but we thought this was a nice suggestion). During the tour we mentioned that we had gotten information on Nei Jo before our visit and told the volunteer how helpful the web site said the volunteers were - wow, was he ever happy, and proceeded to show us around the city for two hours! Thanks for the helpful information,.
  • rebolforces on My Page    May 27, 2011 at 08:53 AM
    Combined ticket with museum. Some interesting Jamon pieces in museum.
  • Eric on Tohoku Castle Trip 2010    June 21, 2010 at 07:58 PM
    A 14th C. castle
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Hachinohe, Aomori Pref.
Ne Castle views
main building
Inside one of the rooms of the main building. Looking across the inner courtyard
One of the halls inside the main building One of the halls inside the main building
middle stable pillars showing the layout of a building
One of the outer sides of the main building. workshop
workshop interior smithy
inside of the smithy storerooms
resthouse Main gate entrance to the castle park
A moddel of the reconstructed grounds.  map