Murakami Castle




The original castle on this mountain was built by the Honjo during the Sengoku Period. It was simply some earthen embankments and dry moats. In 1598, when Murakami Yorikatsu became lord of the area, he transformed it into a modern castle. In 1618, Hori Naoyori also greatly renovated the castle. The castle territory you see today dates from this time period. The Hori also built a three story main keep and developed the castle town around the foot of the mountain. In 1649, Matsudaira Naonori renovated the castle and rebuilt the main keep and most other structures. In 1667, the main keep and honmaru buildings burned down in a fire caused by lightning. The castle switched hands among several other fudai daimyo lords until the Naito clan arrived in 1729. It remained with the Naito until the Meiji restoration where it was all burned to the ground in the Boshin War.

Visit Notes

If you visit Shibata Castle, I also recommend you stop by Murakami Castle. There are many nice stone walls hidden in the woods and the Honmaru bailey stone walls are nearly complete. The atmosphere reminds me of Takatori Castle in Nara even though it's not quite the same scale. Parts of the stone walls are under restoration but it shouldn't harm your enjoyment of this castle. The restoration will be in progress until 2014 so don't let it stop you from going now. I recommend late fall or spring before the stone walls are overgrown with weeds. The town also has 5 splendid samurai homes that are highly recommendable.

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  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Site of the lord's mansion
  • Entrance to the 7 Turns Road
  • The 7 Turns Road
  • Stone walls to the Yottsumon Gate
  • Remnants of the Yottsumon Gate.
  • Okanemon Gate stone walls
  • Okanemon Gate
  • Stone walls under construction
  • Uzumimon Gate
  • Honmaru as seen from the Uzumimon Gate
  • Entrance to the honmaru
  • Stone walls of the honmaru
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Stone walls inside the Honmaru
  • Honmaru entrance as seen from the inside of the honmaru
  • Stone walls under construction
  • Stone walls of the East Gate
  • Stone walls under construction and the view from the honmaru
  • main keep location
  • View from the Honmaru
  • Stairs inside the Honmaru
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls and nice view
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Castle Map
  • Fujii House
  • Iwama House
  • Iwama House
  • Inside the Iwama House
  • Inside the Iwama House
  • Narita House
  • Takaoka House
  • Inside the Takaoka House
  • Wakabayashi House

Castle Profile
English Name Murakami Castle
Japanese Name 村上城
Alternate Names Honjo-jo, Maizuru-jo
Founder Murakami Yorikatsu
Year Founded 1598
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features samurai homes, stone walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Murakami Sta. (Uetsu Line); 30min walk
Visitor Information Park, open any time
Time Required 120 mins
Location Murakami, Niigata Prefecture
Coordinates 38° 13' 11.35" N, 139° 29' 3.95" E
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Added to Jcastle 2011
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2011
Admin Visits October 9, 2011
(4 votes)
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91 months ago
Score 1++
I visited all of the bukeyashiki (samurai homes) before seeing the castle. The guide in the Wakabayashi-bukeyashiki was a real treat. He served hot soup prepared over the hearth in the kitchen, and then showed us a demonstration with samurai sword and the house's secret hiding places.


91 months ago
Score 0++
I visited in August on the way up from Shibata heading to Tsuruoka. It was not well-signed: took me ages to find, but it's wonderful site with fantastic views, and there wasn't a soul around. The town is lovely too.


148 months ago
Score 0++
Thanks Bryan. Was it very crowded like Takato? It is fairly out of the way and less well known so it could be a good \secret"spot for cherry blossoms."""


148 months ago
Score 0++
I visited this castle at the end of April when the sakura were at their peak. It was on par with Takato Castle Ruins Park in Nagano. Definitely worth a visit. The beauty of the sakura alone was worth 5 stars