Matsudaira Norikata founded the castle in 1864. Unfortunately, it was never totally finished by the time the Meiji Restoration began and it was abandoned in 1871. Rather than a huge fort like that of Goryokaku, Tatsuoka Castle is comparatively smaller and it's thought that it was intended as a residence rather than a large scale castle. Also, despite taking in the elements of a European star shaped fortress the moats are fairly narrow and shallow so it would not have been a very strong fortress. Norikata was well respected and served the shogunate in several high ranking positions. After the Meiji Restoration he helped found Hakuaisha, which would later become the Japan Red Cross.
This is one of only two 5 point sar shaped forts in Japan. Be sure to view the Google map where you can very easily see the star shape that you can't get from this pictures. The castle is about the same distance from either Usuda or Tatsuokajo Stations. I walked from Usuda to the castle and then out to Tatsuokajo. The castle grounds are now occupied by an elementary school, but apparently they are open for walking around. Be sure you don't miss the original gate and wall about a 10 min walk from the castle. the town also has some old temples that are worth a visit if you're there.
|English Name||Tatsuoka Castle|
|Alternate Names||Tatsuoka Goryokaku, Tanoguchi Jinya|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Features||gates, turrets, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Tatsuokajo Sta./Usuda Sta. (JR Yatsugatake Kogen Line); walk 20 mins|
|Location||Saku, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 11' 46", 138° 30' 6"|
|Visits||September 21, 2011|
|Added to Jcastle||2011|