Sekiyado Castle




A rather small castle was originally set up here by Yanada Narisuke in 1457. Together with Koga and Noda it formed a majpr defense for the Kanto regions. When the Tokugawa came to Edo in 1590 they too realized the importance of the site and sent Matsudaira Yasumoto here to help defend Edo from the Date and Satake clans in the North.

As the Tokugawa were busy constructing Edo into the nation's new capital, the Tonegawa river wreaked havoc on their plans by continually flooding and damaging their works. In 1654 they rerouted the course of the Tonegawa to dump into the Pacific Ocean above the Boso Peninsual rather than going down through Edo and into the Tokyo Bay.

Itakura Shigetsune, then lord of Sekiyado castle took advantage of this opportunity and dug a channel behind his castle connecting the Tonegawa and Edogawa Rivers. This caused a great windfall for the people of Sekiyado and even the Tokugawa government. It greatly speeded the transportation of goods and people by boat from the Northern provinces to Edo as they no longer had to take the much longer and more dangerous route around the Boso Peninsual and up into Tokyo Bay. The Tokugawa also recognized the strategic importance of the location and set up an administration station to control river traffic. They installed lord Kuze to command over the area. The Kuze family continued to rule until the Meiji Restoration.

Under the Kuze the castle was considerably fortified and the main keep was constructed in the likeness of the Fujimi Yagura at Edo Castle in 1671. Sekiyado Castle was dismantled in 1874 after the Meiji Restoration.

Visit Notes

The reconstructed castle main keep contains a very well done local history museum. The museum is very well done for a rather small out of the way local museum. The history and displays of life on the Tonegawa and the Tokugawa's changing of the river's course are fascinating.

  • donjon and gate
  • castle and rice field
  • main keep and walls
  • Tonegawa and Edogawa Rivers
  • main keep and walls

Castle Profile
English Name Sekiyado Castle
Japanese Name 関宿城
Founder Yanada Narisuke
Year Founded 1457
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 3 levels, 4 stories
Year Reconstructed 1995 (concrete)
Features main keep, gates, turrets, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access 30 minute bus ride from Tobu Dobutsukoen Station (Isezaki Line) or 30 minute bus ride from Kawama Station (Tobu Noda Line)
Visitor Information
Time Required
Location Sekiyado, Chiba Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 6' 0.68" N, 139° 46' 56.17" E
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Added to Jcastle 2003
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2003
Admin Visits April 29, 2003

(8 votes)
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20 months ago
Score 0++

Sekiyadojō is basically a castle-shaped museum. It offers a lot of very interesting information on the efforts of Edo Period Japanese to control the flow of rivers, protect from flooding, and build canals for trade. The history of the castle is heavily associated with these projects…

A castle was first established on the site of Sekiyado Castle by Yanada Narisuke in 1457. The Go-Hōjō Clan destroyed this early castle in their campaigns to conquer the Kantō region (1565-1574). After the defeat of the Hōjō at Odawarajō in 1590, Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered Matsudaira Yasumoto to establish Sekiyadojō. The location of Sekiyadojō at the confluence of Tone and Edo rivers made it a place of great strategic importance. Matsudaira’s mandate was to protect fledgling Edo from the powerful Date Clan who were dominant in the north. After the Tokugawa-bakufu was established the Shogunate saw that Edo was regularly imperilled by the flooding of the Tonegawa, which was known to have changed course several times after uncontrollable flooding, and so in 1654 the Edo Japanese redirected the course of the Tonegawa from feeding into Tōkyō Bay to coming out directly into the Pacific Ocean. This project was a testament to the engineering genius of proto-modern Japanese. However, it did have a downside, which was that the new route hampered trade by river from the north into Edo. Having to journey around the Bōsō Peninsula, especially in bad weather, was both longer and more dangerous. Itakura Shigetsune, lord of Sekiyadojō, solved this problem by building a canal past his castle which linked the Tonegawa and Edogawa. This was an economic boon to both the castle town and the capital. The Shogunate recognised the importance of this strategic shipping canal, and Lord Kuze was installed as castellan to administer the area. His descendents ruled until the Meiji Restoration. With the prosperity brought by these vast infrastructural projects, Sekiyadojō and the surrounding castle town grew, and a three-tier tenshukaku (donjon) was erected in 1671, said to have been modelled on the Fujimi-yagura at Edojō.

The original Sekiyadojō was demolished in 1875. Modern works have meant that the original site of the castle sits quiet and undisturbed a little way down stream behind a flooding embankment. I visited the original site, now a shaded grove, from where one can see the reconstructed castle atop of the flooding embankment at the point where the two rivers meet, at the very tip of Noda Municipality, Chiba Prefecture. The mock-reconstructed castle was built in 1995, based on the Fujimi-yagura at Edo Castle as the original is said to have been, but the modern one is built in a different location from the original. This and a paucity of information about the original structure makes Sekiyadojō a prime example of a mogi.


94 months ago
Score 0++
Sekiyado Castle offered a lot of very interesting information on the efforts of Edo Period Japanese to control the flow of rivers, protect from flooding, and build canals for trade. The history of the castle is heavily associated with these projects

Anonymous user #1

148 months ago
Score 0++
I went here the day after heavy rains; it made Sekiyado`s fantastic museum about flooding and river transport even more apt. The view from the top out across the swollen rivers and glittering fields was lovely and you can take some very nice photos of this castle across the rice fields or from across the river (Ibaraki side) to include shots of Mt Fuji. Their museum is interactive and designed to appeal to all ages – they really make the most of explaining the history of this particular castle and its relation to the environment, rather than just filling it up with vaguely related artifacts, pictures of dead men and tables of genealogies. I wish all castle museums could be this good. The only thing I could add would be more English; I wrote that on the survey form - if you do the survey form you get a free Sekiyado castle bookmark. After this we went to Sakasai castle which has ended up with one of Sekiyado`s original gates.


160 months ago
Score 0++
Thanks John. There are several good ideas there that are probably all true to some extent. It's especially unfortunate that they rushed straight ahead so quickly and destroyed so many of these wonderful buildings themselves.

Anonymous user #1

164 months ago
Score 0++
Brass usagi and saru in the surroundings make this an interesting area. The view at the confluence of the rivers too makes for an interesting view.