Kurume Castle

From Jcastle.info



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.

Visit Notes

Only the Honmaru stone walls remain. The Inui Gate was moved to the nearby Nichirinji temple and can still be seen today.

  • Stone walls
  • Honmaru bailey
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Kurume Castle
Japanese Name 久留米城
Alternate Names Sasayama-jo
Founder Mori Hidekane
Year Founded 1587
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Next 100 Castles, Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features samurai homes, water moats, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Kurume Sta (Kagoshima Line), bus
Visitor Information no entrance fees
Time Required 30 mins
Website http://www.kurume-hotomeki.jp/en/event/?mode=detail&id=402036000001
Location Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 19' 42.35" N, 130° 30' 27.97" E
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Added to Jcastle 2013
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Nearby Samurai Homes
(2 votes)
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46 months ago
Score 0++

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) and are 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 Turret) 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 Turret), 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.


A fortification existed in at this site since at least the 15th century when a foritifed residence called Sinoharajō occupied it. In the Sengoku Period the area became hotly contested by local clans who fought to control the fort. In 1587, after Toyotomi Hideyoshi's conquest of Kyushu, the ninth son of Mōri Motonari, Kobayakawa Hidekane, became lord of Kurumejō. In 1621, Arima Toyōji became lord of Kurume Domain and remodelled the castle into one befitting the early modern period. This is the castle we see today.

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 Honmaru possessed, in addition to the lord's palace, seven yagura of two or three tiers (turrets) 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 Turret) 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.

The Arima Clan ruled Kurumejō until the abolition of the Han System in the Meiji Period, for roughly two and a half centuries. The castle is today the site of Sasayama Shrine and the Arima Memorial Museum.


46 months ago
Score 0++
Ah, I edited it to Akizuki. Level up!


46 months ago
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Thanks! That's a great photo you. You da' man !


46 months ago
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(one of the pictures for Tashiro-bukeyashiki in Akizuki has crept in at the end here)


47 months ago
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Added Sakamoto-bukeyashiki