Mizuki

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History

The Mizuki is a 1.2km long, 80m wide, 9m tall embankment and double moat system running across the plain between Dazaifu, once the capital of Kyūshū, and the Hakata Bay area. Constructed in 664, the Mizuki links up Ōnojō with mountains opposite - close to where there was a small mountain fort called "Little Mizuki". In ancient times this effectively walled-off the flatland approach to Dazaifu. The Mizuki consisted of an inner moat; a wide, gently climbing lower embankment; a tall, steep upper embankment; a berm beyond that; and, finally, the outer moat. Nowadays it is chiefly the upper embankment which is prominent, and the moats are now rice paddies, but the general form remains evident. The part we came to was connected up with a flattened hilltop which in turn climbed on up toward the Citadel Mount of Ōnojō. It seems like it might be possible to walk this climbing wall all the way to Ōnojō. There was a gate, Higashimon, located here and its foundation stones can still be seen.

Visit Notes

A small museum has been built into the embankment beneath the hill. Why it was built into the earthwork like a bunker I don't know, but I don't approve. The great embankment has further sustained damage in places where modern roads and rail have ploughed through it. However, looking at satellite imagery, a long line of green can still be seen, though perforated in places, bisecting the plain. What was formerly mountainous terrain on the west side of the plain has been flattened / terraced and developed over.

"Mizuki" means "Water Wall" or "Water Fortress", the name deriving from its moats. "Ki" is the old reading for "Castle". The defensive network around Dazaifu is actually made up of at least seven distinct sites, including Dazaifu itself with its fortified palace and government center. A smaller embankment-wall can be found to the south, Sekiya Dorui (Checkpoint Embankment). Other than Shomizuki, Mizuki, Ōnojō (Ōno-ki?), and the Sekiya Dorui, there were the mountain fortresses of Kiijō and Ashikisanjō. One day I hope to be able to make a full inspection of all of these sites. As it was we had only time that day for Mizuki and Ōnojō.


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Castle Profile
English Name Mizuki
Japanese Name 水城
Founder The Yamato
Year Founded 664
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Karabori
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Shimo-Ori Station on the Tenjin-Omuta Line; 10 minute walk
Visitor Information Museum open 9 'til 4:30, except Mon.
Time Required One Hour
Location Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 31' 19.60" N, 130° 29' 55.82" E
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Admin
Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Contributor ART
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