In the Sengoku Period, the Shibata clan ruled over this area and were aligned with Oda Nobunaga, Naturally, that put them at odds with Uesugi Kagekatsu who defeated them in 1587. In 1598, Mizoguchi Hidekatsu founded Shibata Castle under the orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was not completed until 1654 under the third generation Mizoguchi, Mizoguchi Nobunao. In 1872 when the Meiji Government ordered the castle to be dismantled it had 11 yagura and 5 gates. Of those 16 main structures only one gate and one yagura remain today. The majority of the Ninomaru and the Honmaru baileys are now occupied by the a Self Defense Forces base. Because of that you cannot enter the three story yagura pictured above. The closest that you can get is where this picture was taken just across the moat.
The three story yagura pictured above was used as the main keep for the castle. Look closely at the roof of the castle. How many shachi do you see? Indeed, there are three. The roof of the top level is in the shape of a T with a shachi on each end. It is the only yagura in Japan with three shachi on the roof.
This is a great little castle to visit if you're not too far away. When considering the original samurai homes, Important Cultural Properties and faithfully reconstructed yagura I gave it 4 stars. It's unfortunate that you can't go in the main keep. Take the time to visit the samurai homes about 1.5km from the castle. They're well worth your time.
|English Name||Shibata Castle|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||3 levels, 3 stories|
|Year Reconstructed||2004 (wood)|
|Artifacts||Omote Gate, Ninomaru Sumi Yagura|
|Features||gates, turrets, samurai homes, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Shibata Sta. (Uetsu Line), 20 min walk|
|Visitor Information||Open April1 - Nov 30|
|Time Required||80 mins|
|Location||Shibata, Niigata Prefecture|
|Coordinates||37° 57' 18", 139° 19' 31"|
|Visits||October 9, 2011|
|Added to Jcastle||2011|