Even though the physical evidence of Marunejō’s existence as a solid fort stands right before our eyes, the castle didn’t leave much of a paper trail. There is a lot of speculation about the castle, including that it was first built by Marune Iekatsu, a vassal of the Matsudaira Clan. Takahashi Yorisada is also said to have been the castellan. At that time the castle would’ve been a fortified manor hall with a single bailey. In 1506 Matsudaira Munetada, from the Nagasawa-Matsudaira branch clan, used Marunejō to attack the Takahashi clan’s manor. There is a theory that a branch clan developed called the Marune-Matsudaira which came into conflict with other branches of the clan. The castle’s ruins we see today date to the middle-to-late 16th century, and the last renovations may have been made by Matsudaira Motoyasu (Tokugawa Ieyasu) after he captured the castle from Marune Muneyoshi. The castle was likely used in the conflicts between the Oda, Imagawa and Matsudaira clans. Considering where Matsudaira territory expanded in the Sengoku period, it’s highly likely this castle was occupied and used by the Matsudaira Clan. Little is known for sure, but I have outlined a plausible history above.
Marune is a moderate scale earthworks hirajiro (flatland castle) site in Nomi Township, Toyota Municipality. These ruins chiefly feature large karabori (dry moats), which are impressive. There are two baileys, the main bailey and north bailey. The north bailey is entirely surrounded by well-preserved karabori. The karabori continues to wrap around the main bailey in the northwest. In the southwest there are terraces without dorui (earthen ramparts), given the impression that the earth has collapsed here. There is a prominent corner segment of dorui in the main bailey's northeast. The main bailey is itself very spacious, and could’ve easily accommodated a palace or, and perhaps more likely, barracks for a large garrison.
Marunejō (Marune Castle) is not to be confused with Marune-toride (Marune Fort), also in Aichi. Marune-toride, which I visited not long after this site, is a minor site but has some renown in association with the siege of Ohdaka Castle and the Battle of Okehazama. Is this a rare instance of a ‘fort’ being better known than a ‘castle’ of the same name? Marune Castle, this site, doesn’t have a well-known history, but it is certainly the more interesting and better preserved site.
|English Name||Marune Castle|
|Founder||Marune Iekatsu; Matsudaira Munetada|
|Year Founded||Unknown; 1506|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa|
|Access||Uwagoromo Station on the Meitetsu-Mikawa Line; 40 minute walk; or, Toyota-Matsudaira IC|
|Visitor Information||24/7; Free; Park|
|Time Required||40 minutes|
|Location||Toyota, Aichi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 4' 3.68" N, 137° 10' 45.98" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2023|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Shiro Meguri Bibōroku|