Tsuwano Castle

From Jcastle.info



Yoshimi Yoriyuki established this castle, originally called Sanbonmatsu-jo, to watch over the province of Iwami. His family ruled here for 14 generations. Yoshimi Hironaga, the 14th generation, supported the Mouri clan in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) and was moved to Hagi with them after they lost to the Tokugawa forces.

Sakazaki Naomori was awarded this domain for his support and success at the Battle of Sekigahara. Starting form the Demaru Bailey he started to vastly expand and fortify the castle. The stone walls you see at the top of the mountain date from this time period. Naomori died in 1616 leaving no descendents. Kamei Masanori was moved here in his place where his family ruled for 11 generations until the coming of the Meiji Period when the castle was dismantled. The tenshu burned down in a fire caused by lightning in 1686. The castle was dismantled in 1873.

Visit Notes

The stone walls of Tsuwano Castle are spectacular and it reminds you a lot of Takeda Castle but a little bit smaller scale. Don't miss the Babasaki Yagura and Monomiyagura watchtowers in the town.You can take the ski lift to the top of the mountain but there is also a trail near the Taikodani Inari Shrine. It is not a particularly difficult hike, but you should plan about an hour.

Also, it is very advisable to carry a bear bell to keep bears away. There were numerous signs to that effect and 2 people cautioned me about not having one. You can see some minor fortifications like horikiri trenches and small baileys. Also the trail from the South Gate continues on down through the Nakaara Castle and out to the Washihara Hachimangu Shrine. It's an enjoyable walk but sometimes the path is not clear.

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Castle Profile
English Name Tsuwano Castle
Japanese Name 津和野城
Alternate Names Sanbonmatsu-jo
Founder Yoshimi Yoriyuki
Year Founded 1283
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Top 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features samurai homes, trenches, stone walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Tsuwano Sta. (Yamaguchi Line)
Visitor Information The lift runs 10am to 5pm and costs 450 yen round trip.
Time Required 75 mins for the castle ruins
Website http://tsuwano-kanko.net/sightseeing/look/津和野城跡/
Location Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 27' 40", 131° 45' 50"
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Year Visited 2014
Visits Nov 22, 2014
Added to Jcastle 2007

(9 votes)
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28 months ago
Score 0++
If you've walked through all the red torii gates up to the Taikodani Inari Shrine, then these castle ruins are very easy to get to. Just walk through the carpark, follow the road down the mountain and after just a few minutes you'll see the chairlift on your right. You can pick up a free walking staff as you enter the site, which is useful as the path is quite uneven in places. I did see the signs warning about bears (which I admit did worry me a little) but fortunately I didn't see any. There were a number of workmen hammering away at some of the walls at the top of the mountain, so perhaps the noise scared them away! There isn't a lot left to see, but there's a lovely view and the remaining stone walls are quite impressive. The castle map shows how extensive the castle was in its time, but you do need to use your imagination to picture it now. It's quite overgrown, although perhaps the presence of workmen indicates that there's some restoration or repair work going on.


88 months ago
Score 0++
I visited on 26th August 2011 (got soaked and bitten by myriads of mosquitoes in the process). The original structure must have been very impressive as the remaining stonework one can find is equally so. However, everything has been allowed to become very overgrown. I found it very difficult to relate the various components. I can't understand why it has been allowed to decay this way, after all, there's even a chair lift up to the ruins. Overall, I was very disappointed and it's not the easiest of places to get to. A low rating from me I'm afraid. Those responsible should see how well Takeda is being looked after - it's brilliant by comparison.