Tamaru Castle was built by Kitabatake Chikafusa as a fortress against the forces of the Northern Court when Emperor Go-daigo established the Southern Court in Yoshino in 1336. Two branches of the Imperial line disputed over the sovereignty, a period of civil war which became later known as the Northern and Southern Courts Period (1336-1392). In attempt to rule the Grand Shrine of Ise, the Northern and Southern Courts fought several battles for the control of this castle near the shrine. After unification of the two courts, the Kitabatake Clan governed this castle and called it Tamaru Gosho (玉丸御所) or Tamaru Imperial Palace.
At the end of the Muromachi Period (1392-1573), Oda Nobunaga attacked Ise. He accepted the terms of the peace settlement in which his younger son, Nobukatsu, was to become the son-in-law of the Kitabatake lord and eventually succeed him. Nobukatsu restored Tamaru Castle and its three-storied keep to exactly as the original. In 1575, he also changed the name to 田丸城, which was also pronounced as Tamaru Castle. However, the castle burnt down in a fire in 1580, and Nobukatsu moved to Matsugashima Castle. After Oda Nobukatsu, the succeeding clans of Inaba, Todo, and Kuno governed the castle. With its long history, all the major styles of stone wall construction can be seen at Tamaru Castle: Nozurazumi (simple piling up of unshaped stones), Uchikomihagi (using shaped stones with smaller stones and pebbles to fill the gaps), and Kirikomihagi (using precision cut stones). The castle was dismantled after the Meiji Restoration and became the property of the government. Murayama Ryohei, a descendant of a Tamaru Fief clansman and founder of the Asahi Newspaper Company, lobbied for the preservation of the castle ruins. It was named Castle Park and opened to the public in May, 1928. This castle is an example of a Hirayama-jo or hilltop castle. It is designated as a Historical Asset of Mie Prefecture.
First, I have to give a huge thank you to RaymondW, frequent contributor to this site and author of the history below, for his recommendation to visit Tamura Castle. It far exceeded my expectations. This was a great site to visit. The castle grounds are nearly in tact with many stone walls and lots of good photo angles. From the Otemon (front entrance) to the Karametemon (back entrance), the good condition of the grounds really helps you to understand the layout of the castle through the combination of baileys, gates, and dry moats. A few more signs or an artist's rendering of what the castle would have looked like could really improve this site. You can see the castle hilltop from the station. When you leave Tamaru Station, take the street on your left. Go straight down the street, through the intersection with a traffic light, and you will come to the outer water moat of the castle and Tamaru Town Hall. Trains are relatively infrequent with roughly one train per hour. Tamaru is about 20 minutes by train from Matsusaka and roughly halfway between Matsusaka and Toba.
|English Name||Tamaru Castle|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Features||gates, water moats, trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Tamaru Sta. (Line), 5 min walk|
|Location||Tamaki, Mie Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 29' 27", 136° 37' 41"|
|Visits||November 25, 2011|
|Added to Jcastle||2011|