A powerful family originally built a fortified residence on this site called Shinohara Castle. After Hideyoshi pacified Kyushu, Mori Motonari's son Hidekane built Kurume Castle. After the Battle of Sekigahara, Hidekane, who was on the Western side of the battle was transferred to a different position and Tanaka Yoshimasa became lord of Kurume Castle. In 1621, Arima Toyouji became the new lord of Kurume Castle. Arima renovated the castle into a modern Edo Period castle. A main keep was never built at Kurume Castle but it did boast seven yagura towers in the Honmaru. Kurume Castle remained in the hands of the Arima until it was dismantled in the Meiji Period.
Only the Honmaru stone walls remain. The Inui Gate was moved to the nearby Nichirinji temple and can still be seen today.
Updated description by ART (Jan 2024; visited 2019):
Kurume Castle's ishigaki (stone-clad ramparts) are lots of fun. There are no guide ropes or railings stopping wrong-footed visitors from tumbling over the edge, which I quite liked because peering over the lofty precipices of the ramparts allowed for even greater appreciation of their tall structure. The castle remains essentially encompass the sizable honmaru (main bailey), surrounded by ishigaki, except in the northwest where the ishigaki has fallen down, by the looks of it, due to a landslide.
In the northeast there is a yaguradai (turret platform) where the Ushitora-yagura (northeast keep) of three tiers once stood. The yaguradai doesn't seem to be in good shape: let's just say I felt nervous standing below it... The rest of the castle's ramparts seem to be mostly in decent condition, particularly in the south, which is the main entrance area of the old citadel. This area contained three of the castle's seven turrets, as well as the main gate complex with a kabukimon gate and masugata (box formation) layout beyond. The Tatsumi-yagura (southeast keep), of three tiers, was the largest keep at the castle. Here the ishigaki is double-tiered, and so it seems like it was the most heavily fortified area of Kurumejō. The east side of the yaguradai's ishigaki is bulging and may need correcting. This area below the yaguradai is sort of a secret area as it seems most visitors miss it on their way in. I came back here and found a large snail's shell and a snake.
On the way to the castle I came by two markers indicating the former second and third baileys of the castle respectively. Nichinrinji is a temple in town which was formerly relocated from what became the second baily of Kurume Castle when it was expanded in the early Edo period. The relocation of a shrine or temple is not usually worth remarking upon, but it's kind of funny that in turn, after the castle's abandonment, Kurumejō's Inuimon (northwest gate) was relocated to Nichirinji, becoming the temple's sanmon (main gate)! I visited Nichirinji to see the gate after going to the Sakamoto-bukeyashiki, the last remaining samurai house in Kurume.
Kurumejō is favoured geographically, being located on a small hilltop (Sasayama) with the Chikugo River running behind it. This makes Kurumejō a hirayama-type castle: specifically it is built in the Hirayama-Tamon style. The main bailey possessed, in addition to the lord's palace, seven yagura of two or three tiers connected by tamon-yagura (hallway turrets). The castle's keeps consisted of the Tatsumi-yagura (southeast), the largest keep of three tiers; the Ushitora-yagura (northeast) of three tiers; the Inui-yagura (northwest) of three tiers; the Hitsujisaru-yagura (southwest) of three tiers; Taiko-yagura (drum tower) of three tiers to the left of the kabukimon; the Nishishita-yagura in the west of the honmaru; and the Fushimi-yagura next to the eastern gate.
|Next 100 Castles, Prefectural Historic Site
|samurai homes, water moats, stone walls
|Kurume Sta (Kagoshima Line), bus
|no entrance fees
|Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture
|33° 19' 42.35" N, 130° 30' 27.97" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited