Nagaoka Castle




Nagaokajō was built in 1616 by Hori Naoyori after he was awarded land in the area (80,000 koku) following the expulsion of the previous lord, Matsudaira Tadateru, by Tokugawa Hidetada after his alleged mismanagement during the Summer Ôsaka Campaign. Nagaokajō replaced nearby Zaōdōjō because the earlier castle was susceptible to flooding. In 1618, however, Hori Naoyori was relocated to Murakamijō to the north and Makino Tadanari took over Nagaokajō. Makino Clan holdings were valued at 62,000 koku, increasing to 72,000 koku in 1620, and finally 74,000 koku in 1625. Nagaokajō was not immune to the same issues faced by Zaōdōjō it seems, however, and flooded in 1671, 1674, 1781, and 1789. Nagaokajō would also be affected by two major fires, the first in 1728 and the second in 1844. The unlucky castle was also severely damaged in an earthquake in 1829. They must've started to wonder what god, deity or bodhisattva they had displeased. In the end, however, though Nagaokajō was originally built in a time of peace, it was war which destroyed it for good, with the castle being annhilated during the Boshin War of 1868.

The site of Nagaokajō was a park until 1898 when Nagaoka Station was opened. The area was subsequently developed and urbanised. In 1926 the castle's moats were filled in for the construction of public buildings. No ruins of the castle remain. A faux tenshu named for the castle was built in a park outside of town in 1968 to serve as a folk museum.

Visit Notes

Nothing remains of Nagaokajō, but a donjon complex has been "reconstructed" off-site, putting it in the same category of mogi tenshu as Echizen-Katsuyamajō or even Fushimijō. First we went to this mogi tenshu which is located in Yūkyūzan Park (悠久山公園). The site is actually related to the castle via the Aoshi Shrine (蒼紫神社), established by the lords of Nagaoka Domain. It's a nice park. The mogi tenshu serves as a folk museum but it's been closed since the Wuhan Flu outbreak. It doesn't look too bad. The "ishigaki" the superstructure sits atop is clearly a concrete-glued mock-up, but, heck, I've seen worse. The donjon (called tenshukaku (天守閣)) features the usual modern mogi conceits, such as doors buried in the tenshudai (donjon platform), and a fairytale balcony. The donjon complex further includes a sub-keep (called "kaku-yagura (角櫓)") connected via a tamon-yagura (corridor turret, but called "hashiri-yagura (走り櫓)"), which actually reminded me of Aiźu-Wakamatsujō. Even though the stone blocks used in the "ishigaki" are obviously modern, the shadow of the rooftiles cast onto them, producing an optical illusion which made them look like they had been hewn traditionally. I inspected the actual castle site too, of course. The main bailey is now the site of Nagaoka Station, which is at the centre of a city, and, although there is a water feature and marker to commemorate the site, the former castle has been completely crushed under the modern city. I also found a marker to the castle's second bailey. So then I didn't make the mistake of not visiting the castle's actual site like I did the first time I visited Echizen Katsuyama Castle and Fushimi Castle.

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  • Faux Tenshu near Aoshi Shrine
  • Marker designating site of main bailey
  • Marker designating site of second bailey
  • Aoshi Shrine, built by lords of Nagaoka Domain

Castle Profile
English Name Nagaoka Castle
Japanese Name 長岡城
Founder Hori Naoyori
Year Founded 1616
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 3 Tiers, 4 Storeys; Fukugou-shiki
Year Reconstructed 1968
Artifacts Mogi Tenshu, Hashiri-yagura, Kaku-yagura
Features main keep, turrets
Visitor Information
Access Nagaoka Station on the Shin'etsu and Jouetsu lines; 1 minute walk
Visitor Information Museum was open 9:00-17:00, except Mondays (unless Monday is a national holiday in which case the next day would be closed); museum closed from 2020 due to Wuhan Flu outbreak.
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture
Coordinates 37° 26' 50.86" N, 138° 51' 11.59" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle

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