Kashima Castle (Hizen)

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HizenKashimajou (6).JPG


Kashima-han (Kashima Domain) was a Shihan (Branch Domain) of Saga-han, ruled over by the Nabeshima Clan, starting with Nabeshima Tadashige from 1609. Their seat of power was Tsunehirojō. A hirajiro (flatland castle), Tsunehirojō was destroyed by flooding at beginning of the 19th century. The 9th lord, Nabeshima Naonori, therefore petitioned the Bakufu to relocate in 1804 and built Kashimajō in 1807. The expressive Akamon was completed in 1808. Kashimajō was destroyed in the Saga Rebellion of 1874. Survivng structures include the Akamon, Ōtemon, and a small tamon-yagura / bansho.

Visit Notes

Kashimajō has survivng baileys, moats, ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) and extant structures, prinicpally two gates. The largest gate, which also has dobei and a tamon-yagura (corridor turret) attached, is known as Akamon (Red Gate) due to its colour, and was constructed in 1808. The Ōtemon, a smaller gate ahead of the castle and the old bukeyashiki area of the castle town, is also red in colour, but apparently this colour scheme was adopted in modern times to match the original Akamon. A munemon formerly belonging to a bukeyashiki is also located nearby (it has not yet been painted red but did have to be extensively restored after damage by a typhoon one year). What sources are calling a tamon-yagura looked to me like it would've been used as a bansho (guardhouse) with a large projecting mushamado, since it no longer connects to any other structures apart from the yakuimon-style Akamon.

The castle town is also a major feature of visiting this site. The streets around the castle are lined with traditional walls and gates and terraced with ishigaki. The surrounding environs include potentially a half-dozen or more bukeyashiki (samurai homes) but information about them is scarce. They are either the private homes of citizens, and in this capacity some of them have been heavily modified, or, regrettably, are now abandoned and falling into ruin. Since I couldn't believe that such structures would simply be allowed to rot, I wondered if these weren't maybe Meiji Period or later residences rebuilt on the sites of former bukeyashiki, and maybe that's true for the one's falling to pieces, but multiple sources online refer to the homes in general as being bukeyashiki.

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  • Munamon Gate (City Cultural Property)

Castle Profile
English Name Kashima Castle (Hizen)
Japanese Name 肥前鹿島城
Founder Nabeshima Tadashige
Year Founded 1609
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Artifacts Ishigaki, Gates (Ohtemon & Akamon), Moats, Yagura
Features gates, turrets, samurai homes, water moats, stone walls, walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Hizen-Kashima Station on the Nagasaki Main Line; 20 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7 free
Time Required Three Hours
Location Kashima, Saga Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 6' 14.36" N, 130° 5' 36.53" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Nearby Samurai Homes
(2 votes)
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54 months ago
Score 0++
I love those dilapidated old clay walls. They remind me a bit of Hagi Castle but it seems there are even more. This on just shot way up my to-do list.... for when I ever make it to Kyushu...


54 months ago
Score 0++
worth your time i think. the joukamachi is also interesting, it's just a shame about the state of some of the old houses