Tokiwa Castle




Tokiwajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) site, founded in 1274 by Kumagai Tadanori. In 1589, Sōma Yoshitane attacked the castle and although the castle eventually fell, he lost a hundred mounted warriors trying to assault the fort’s steep natural defences. At this time the castellan was likely a vassal of the Date-shi (clan). Yoshitane was defeated by Date Masamune that year, and if accounts are accurate then I suspect the losses he sustained taking Tokiwajō would’ve contributed to his losing the war. The castle site is now a park. The sentry turret you see is a mock reconstruction. This means that it does not resemble any building which formerly stood at the site. Rather, thatched roof structures were built in the honmaru (main bailey), as shown in the picture of the map of the site. The baileys of Tokiwajō are also referred to as “kuruwa" as it is a medieval yamajiro. The ruins of the castle today consist of dorui (earthen defences), cleared kuruwa, and horikiri (trenches dug into the earth). One particularly impressive horikiri climbs all the way up the mountain and has incredibly steep sides. It would not surprised me if this is where those 100 mounted soldiers were slaughtered.

Visit Notes

I walked to and from Iwaki-Tokiwa station, taking about 50 minutes each way, but there are buses from Funehiki station, though they are infrequent.

Profile and photos contributed by AdamT


Castle Profile
English Name Tokiwa Castle
Japanese Name 常葉城
Founder Kumagai Tadanori
Year Founded 1274
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Main Keep Structure Two Tiers (three storeys, inc. basement)
Artifacts Horikiri, Kuruwa, Dorui, Mogi-Tenshu
Features main keep, trenches
Visitor Information
Access Funehiki Station (Yuuyuu-Abukuma Line), bus to Tokiwa
Visitor Information Free, 24/7
Time Required 90 minutes
Location Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture
Coordinates 37° 26' 31.52" N, 140° 39' 3.85" E
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Added to Jcastle 2016
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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