Kakunodate Castle

From Jcastle.info



The original castle was founded by the Tozawa clan in late 1500's but some legends say it actually dates to the 1400's. The castle and castle town we see today however dates from the early 1600's and was founded by Ashina Yoshikatsu. When his older brother Satake Yoshinobu was re-assigned to Akita after the Battle of Sekigahara, Yoshikatsu became the lord of Kakunodate Castle.

The town of Kakunodate was originally located to the North of Mt. Furushiroyama. When Ashina Yoshikatsu became lord of Kakunodate he relocated the town to a more suitable location for developing a castle town. It's new location is surrounded by mountains on three sides and open to the Senboku plains to the South by the Tamagawa River. Kakunodate Castle was decommissioned under the One Castle Per Country Edict in 1620, but the samurai as well as the former lord of the castle remained in Kakunodate and fortified the town itself.

Visit Notes

The castle is about a 20 minute uphill walk from the stoplight at the end of the samurai quarter. It is not a difficult climb, but is a climb nevertheless. It is well worth your time to visit the top of the mountain and castle site simply for the stunning views of the valley and the town below. It looks like the castle originally was well developed with many small baileys around the mountain and side baileys (koshiguruwa) and stepped baileys, but many areas of the map say "unsurveyed" so it may have been even larger than what is known today. In the town, there are a lot of old "looking" houses and old houses in the castle town but only a handful of original samurai homes, only 6 of which are open to the public. See the individual samurai home pages for the details of each. There is also one original gate that has been relocated in the town. See the photos and map below for details.

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Castle Profile
English Name Kakunodate Castle
Japanese Name 角館城
Alternate Names Komatsuyama-jo
Founder Tozawa Clan
Year Founded 15th C.
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features samurai homes, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Kakunodate Station (Akita Shinkansen); 15 minute walk
Visitor Information park, open any time
Time Required 20 mins for the castle itself, most of one day for the castle and castle town
Website http://kakunodate-kanko.jp/category/2015/04/post-34.html
Location Semboku, Akita Prefecture
Coordinates 39° 36' 23.51" N, 140° 33' 45.83" E
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Added to Jcastle 1999
Admin Year Visited 1998, 2004, 2018
Admin Visits April, 1998; Aug 9, 2004; May 11, 2018
(13 votes)
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Kiddus i2003Gunshi

63 months ago
Score 0++
The streets were starting to be covered by Sakura which made the visit worthwhile. The Samurai houses were very interesting but very crowded due to the beginning of Hanami.


93 months ago
Score 0++
I agree with Frank, although Kakunodate is worth a visit, the castle itself is a bad joke. Nothing left. IMHO it does not deserve its rating 4/5.

Frank T.Gunshi

120 months ago
Score 0++
The samurai quarter IS good, but you can see samurai quarters in other places more conveniently located and with castles to go along with them. I took the time to hike up to the actual site of the castle. It's a mosquito infested, overgrown lookout of the town with NOTHING else to see--not even stones.