Motosakura Castle




In 1455, Makuwari Yasutane, a relative of the Chiba, attacked Chiba Castle and defeated the Chiba. Makuwari took the name of Chiba and his son Suketane built this new castle on the shores of Lake Inba Numa. The Chiba built a thriving castle town and continued to rule until the fall of the Hojo in 1590. At that time, the inland sea of Kasumigaura was much much larger than today including Lake Inba Numa and other nearby rivers that either no longer exist or flow differently than at that time. The location on the shore was a vital point for transportation and trade around the sea and along the Shimousa Highway. In the 1500's the Chiba aligned themselves with the very powerful Hojo to help fortify each other's borders from the Satake and the Satomi clans. The Hojo helped Chiba to further fortify the castle, namely by adding the Settai Bailey and Mukai Negoya Bailey. The castle was abandoned when Tokugawa moved to Edo.

Visit Notes

This site had more to see than I expected. There are some great horikiri dry moats, and the different baileys are well defined. The town is faithfully preserving this historic site. They are continuously doing excavation work and sometimes offer guided tours or lectures. The tours often take different routes and have different themes. Refer to <a href="本佐倉城/">this website for details</a>. Depending on the book you read it may say it takes anywhere from 10 mins to 25 mins to walk to the castle, but it depends on which part you go to first. The main entrance in the photo above is about 20 mins. The closest bailey, Settai Kuruwa, is 10 mins or less from the station and easy to find if you follow the Japanese signs from the station. Please note that the location of this castle on Google Maps is wrong. The label is (I think) at the outer bailey, Mukai Negoya Kuruwa, not the main part of the castle. I missed that bailey this time but will seek it out again, perhaps on a tour.
本佐倉城は思ったより遺構が残っています。見事な堀切に複数の曲輪もよく残っているので城の形がよくわかります。酒々井町もこの史跡を保存するために常に発掘調査や整備活動を行っています。<a href="本佐倉城/">ツアーや公園</a>もあって、テーマによってルートが異なります。

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  • Ridge around the number 5 bailey
  • main entrance to the castle
  • Inside the main entrance
  • Inside the main entrance.
  • Main entrance as seen from above
  • #4 bailey rises in terraces.
  • Excavations in the #4 bailey
  • This path leads to the #4 bailey
  • Path to the Shiroyama and Okunoyama baileys
  • Path to the Shiroyama Bailey
  • Main entrance to the Shiroyama Bailey
  • Inside the Shiroyama Bailey
  • buildings marked out in the Shiroyama Bailey
  • Looking from the Shiroyama
  • Obikuruwa around the Shiroyama
  • Around the side of the Okunoyama Bailey
  • Parts of the #4 bailey and #3 bailey
  • South entrance
  • Looking out over the #6 bailey
  • Settei Bailey entrance
  • Obi Kuruwa around the Settei Bailey
  • Deep dry moat between the main castle compound and Settei Bailey
  • 16m deep dry moat around the Settei Bailey
  • Deep horikiri, dry moat, around the Settei Bailey
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Motosakura Castle
Japanese Name 本佐倉城
Founder Chiba Suketane
Year Founded late 1400's
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Oosakura Sta. (Keisei Line), walk 10-20 mins
Visitor Information park is open year round, no fees
Time Required 75 mins
Location Shisui Town, Chiba Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 43' 40.19" N, 140° 15' 35.75" E
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Added to Jcastle 2013
Admin Year Visited 2012
Admin Visits Dec. 23, 2012

(2 votes)
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92 months ago
Score 0++
My plan initially had been to visit 5 castle sites this day but, after going to the National Museum of History, I had only time to visit Motosakurajō after Sakurajō. Because of the name relation between these two sites, it seemed appropriate to come here next. There are remains of kuruwa (baileys), dorui (earthen embankments) and hori (trenches) visible today. I really liked that there were little signs dotted about saying exactly what archaeological remains were present, including signs indicating gates, buildings and routes in and out of baileys. There was a vending machine at the entrance to the site with an Edo-period map of the castle painted on it. There were wooden walkways and shields erected near the Eastern Mount, which showed that the locals were really putting in effort to preserving their castle site. This is always great to see. Motosakurajō is in the middle of the countryside. In the Okinomaru bailey I saw that a network of spider webs spread throughout the entire meadow, from plant to plant, like a transport network. I hadn’t seen that across such a wide area before. I also found a kabutomushi (rhinoceros beetle). It was the first time I’d seen one alive. Whilst I was watching him he managed to tip himself over (I didn’t flip him!), so I took a picture of his underside and then right-ended him.