Niwase Castle




This castle was originally considered to be part of the Natsukawa Castle, located only 300 metres away. Another name for Niwase Castle was Kouge Castle. It was constructed in a marshy area, so it was a difficult castle to build. Ukita’s retainer Togawa Michiyasu expanded the old castle and improved the surrounding castle town. From 1699 until the beginning of the Meiji Period, this castle was ruled by the Itakura Clan. Niwase Castle is a typical example of a Numajiro (沼城), a marshland castle. In 1793, Itakura Katsuyasu built Sugayama Shrine on the castle grounds. Some of the original ishigaki and moats can still be seen at this castle ruin. In the Okayama Prefectural Museum, there is a painting of the castle design.

Photos and profile by RaymondW.

Visit Notes

This castle ruin is about 5 minutes walk from JR Niwase Station. There isn’t much to see here except for some of the moats and the site of the former castle keep, which has been converted and is used as a site for a shrine.


Castle Profile
English Name Niwase Castle
Japanese Name 庭瀬城
Alternate Names Kouge-jo
Founder Togawa Michiyasu
Year Founded After 1600
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Edo Period
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Niwase Sta. (San'yo Line, Hakubi Line); 5 min walk
Visitor Information Open year round
Time Required 20 minutes
Website area.php?id=68
Location Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 38' 34.76" N, 133° 50' 56.87" E
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Added to Jcastle 2013
Contributor RaymondW
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(3 votes)
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19 months ago
Score 0++

庭瀬城・庭瀬陣屋 Niwasejō / Niwase-jin'ya Niwasejō, a hirajiro (flatland castle) built in a marsh sometime during the Sengoku Period, was also known as Kōgejō (sec. Jcastle) and Shibanojō (sec. Wikipedia). Today it is the site of two shrines surrounded by waterways which comprised the castle's moats. If you look at the edges of these moats you can see stonework. When I visited, the water had been drained which made for a muddy landscape surrounding the ishigaki (stone ramparts). I was able to get a great view of the ishigaki this way and the mud recalled the castle's origins as a numajiro (swampland castle). Niwasejō is located immediately adjacent to Natsukawajō and their territories overlapped. Niwasejō was built as an extension to Natsukawajō but the center of the castle was moved from Natsukawajō to Niwasejō with the establishment of Niwase Domain (valued at 29,200 koku). Togawa Michiyasu was in charge of this domain and he built up Niwasejō. This change in function and castellan of the site delineates Niwasejō and Natsukawajō as two distinct albeit adjacent sites. It's rare to find two castle sites right next to each other that are each so well preserved in this way. Due to the modest holdings of the fief, Niwasejō was built as a Jin'ya, a rank below that of an actual castle. A contemporary map shows the Jin'ya-machi (rather than Jōkamachi), and a small square labelled 'Old Castle' to represent the abandoned Natsukawajō.


From 1602 four generations of the Togawa Clan, starting with Togawa Michiyasu, lorded Niwase Domain. From 1679 Niwasejō became a Daikansho under bureaucratic control (Tenryō), meaning it had no lord and was ruled directly by the shogunate through representatives. Two minor lords were also appointed as rulers during this time but control kept reverting back to the bureaucracy once they were transferred elsewhere. From 1699 Itakura Shigetaka was given the fief and his descendents ruled it until the Meiji Restoration. In 1700 a large wooden lantern was constructed where one of the castle moats emptied into the river, as a sort of lighthouse. It has since been reconstructed. In 1793 a shrine was built on the castle grounds. In the Meiji Period Niwasejō's front gate was relocated to Ryūjōji, a temple outside of town. The only structures at the site today are shrine buildings.


75 months ago
Score 1++
Many of the waterways surrounding this site were drained when I visited, reduced to a muddy trickle. It was quite interesting.