Kanbe Castle

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Kanbejou (3).jpg


A fort was first built at this site in the 12th century by the Kanbe Clan, vassals of the Seki Clan who were based at Kameyamajō. In 1568 Oda Nobunaga invaded northern Ise Province and defeated the local powers. The Seki surrendered and were forced to abide by Nobunaga’s terms: they would adopt his third son, Nobutaka, meaning that he would inherit the territory of his father’s defeated rivals. Nobutaka’s headquarters were Kanbejō. He modernised and expanded the castle with ishigaki and built a five-tier tenshukaku (donjon). After the death of Oda Nobunaga, Kanbejō was involved in fighting between Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Oda Nobukatsu. Kanbejō was used during the Edo period, when the Honda Clan were lords, but was demolished at the beginning of the Meiji period. A gate and small turret survived, however, but they are now located off site.

Visit Notes

2024 Update:

Kanbejō is a hirajiro (flatland castle) ruin in the town of Kanbe, which is the downtown of Suzuka Municipality. The castle originally consisted of two inner baileys surrounded on three sides by a wrap-around third bailey, with inner and outer moats. Now the main bailey and parts of the rest of the castle grounds are a public park. Remains of dorui (earthen ramparts) can be seen around the main bailey, and beneath the main bailey is a segment of mizubori (water moat), spanned by a small bridge which is a modern addition. The main attraction at this site is the well preserved tenshudai, a platform of piled stones for the castle's main keep, which, constructed in 1580, was of five tiers and six storeys.

I first visited Kanbejō in 2017, but I came back to search for relocated structures. I also had much nicer weather for it this time. The taiko-yagura of Rengeji, a temple in the Tamagaki area of Suzuka, was originally located in Kanbejō's second bailey. I also visited Ryōkōji, a temple near the castle, under the impression that I might find something of historical value. The temple has a large kuri (kitchen hall) and shoin (drawing room) with a grand genkan (entrance parlour). I wondered if this was the shoin used at Kanbejō, but it wasn't constructed until 1896, and the current structures are in anycase a rebuild from after the originals burnt down in 1973.

Ryōkōji also contains the Sabōtei, a tea pavilion which was originally part of the Edo residence of the Hosokawa Clan, the lords of Kumamoto Castle, but was gifted to Honda Tadamune, the lord of Kanbejō and a junior councillor in the bakufu government, and ultimately relocated to its present location. Unfortunately the Sabōtei is not open to the general public, though tea ceremonies are occassionally held there.

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  • Mizubori and Ishigaki
  • Tenshudai (donjon platform)
  • Ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts)
  • Tenshudai (donjon platform)
  • Dorui (earthen ramparts)
  • Relocated Taiko-yagura

Castle Profile
English Name Kanbe Castle
Japanese Name 神戸城
Alternate Names Hondajō
Founder Kanbe Clan
Year Founded 12th century
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Suzuka Station (Ise Line); 20 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7; free (park)
Time Required 30 minutes
Website https://www.kankomie.or.jp/spot/2868
Location Suzuka, Mie Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 52' 43.72" N, 136° 34' 38.42" E
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Added to Jcastle 2017
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Oshiro Tabi Nikki
Jōkaku Hōrōki

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7 days ago
Score 0++
Updated profile and gallery with nicer photos; added the relocated drum tower.