Ako Castle

From Jcastle.info



Ukita Hideie built a branch or subordinate castle of Okayama Castle here in 1573. When Asano Naganao came in 1648 he was instructed by the Tokugawa government to build a new castle. If you look at a map of the castle you'll see that the outline looks very unique. It employs a lot of corners and these arrowhead point looking structures. This was a very modern idea to improve firing range near the castle and increase its defensive ability. You also see such structures very clearly in Goryokaku at Hakodate. There is a main keep foundation at Ako Castle but the main keep wasn't built because the Tokugawa government never granted permission to do so. Ako Castle was dismantled in 1873 under the Castle Abolishment Law.

Visit Notes

This looks like a great, but not well visited castle. I really want to go here soon.


Castle Profile
English Name Ako Castle
Japanese Name 赤穂城
Alternate Names Kariya-jo
Founder Asano Naganao
Year Founded 1648
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Banshuako Sta. (Ako Line)
Visitor Information
Time Required
Location Ako, Hyogo Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 44' 46.07" N, 134° 23' 19.28" E
Loading map...
Year Visited 2018
Visits December 21, 2018
Added to Jcastle 2009

(19 votes)
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15 months ago
Score 1++

Visited 20 Nov 2016. I actually have a rather negative view of the 47 Rōnin and their (perhaps undeservedly) glorified vendetta, but my long-standing interest and research into the Akō Incident was enough to detour me towards the former domain of their ill-fated lord. My sceptical views regarding the rōnin aside, I was genuinely impressed by the castle that they once called home. The profusion of angled lines of defence and projecting fortifications was interesting to see, as was the carefully laid out elevated platform outlining the footprint of the former goten. As the previous poster observed, it's great that they've incorporated the excavated remains of inner courtyards and gardens into the raised footprint, making it easier for one to imagine the form and function of the compound when it was still intact. The never-used base for the never-built tenshu was also a sight to behold, and offered great views of the honmaru enclosure. I'd really love to return at some point, both to explore the castle more thoroughly and also to prowl about town in pursuit of other Akō Incident-related sites.



23 months ago
Score 1++

This is a very nice and quiet castle site. There are many reconstructed stone walls and gates. From the stone base where the tenshukaku once stood one can enjoy a good view of the honmaru. There is a large stone platform which shows where the palace once stood and which parts served which purpose. I found this a nice addition: it shows the scale and the location of the inner gardens a bit clearer than a simple outline on the ground.

Personal highlight for me was the reconstructed yet excellent ninomaru-teien, a Japanese style garden with ponds and pavilions. I'm wondering if they have any plans of expanding this garden, because one of the maps showed a larger area than there actually was. There were also some construction fences, but these seemed to not have been moved in at least a couple of years.


91 months ago
Score 0++
I visited this site today. It is a very nice place to be during sakura-time. The park is surrounded by a lot of ishigaki and they are still reconstructing some parts of it. It's easy accessible. From the south-exit of Banshu-Ako station it's straight ahead. There aren't alot of buildings, but they made some kind of elevated map in the honmaru, where the palace once stood. The Oishi-jinja, related to the 47 ronin, stands inside the ishigaki.


102 months ago
Score 0++
Went here for the 47 Ronin Festival on Dec. 14th every year. Definitely the best time to go! Castle has been filmed numerous times for movies about the 47 Ronin.


103 months ago
Score 0++
Yes, this is partially correct. The one castle per country law forced all lords to build and maintain a castle in their domain which ate up funds and resources that they may have put to military uses.

Anonymous user #1

103 months ago
Score 0++
I've noticed that many of the castles in the other buildings category were built after the senguku period, during the reign of the tokugawa shogunate. I suppose the tokugawa were trying to limit the power of the feudal daimyos


104 months ago
Score 0++
I went to this castle in early March. It has been around two years since my last visit. More walls have been reconstructed. The local government is quite serious about restoring this castle with current building work focusing on fully reconstructing the Ninomaru Gardens. With work in progress, a visitor to the Ninomaru (Second Bailey) area can see a clear cross-section of how ishigaki (a Japanese stone wall) is constructed. It wasn’t the best day for taking piccies, but it was nice to walk around this quiet castle ruin. Thank goodness I finished my visit before two busloads of tourists arrived at the site.