Tomo Castle




Tomonoura is a quaint little port town whose oval shaped bay naturally protected ships in the port making it a prosperous port to ancient times. In the center of town is a large hill where a castle was constructed to overlook the harbor. In 1576 as Ashikaga Yoshiaki fled Oda Nobunaga, he was also protected here by the Mori for awhile and even established the short lived Tomo Bakufu. After the Battle of Sekigahara, Fukushima Masanori started to build a new large castle on this site. Construction continued until 1609 but the large scale of the castle and main keep at this location looking over the Seto Inland Sea and a strategic port was viewed as very suspicious by Tokugawa Ieyasu and Fukushima abandoned the project to avoid angering the Tokugawa. Local stories however, claim that the castle was destroyed after the "one castle per domain" edict (1615), but the timing does not match. The main keep was moved to Mihara Castle.

Visit Notes

I was not expecting much from this castle but the remaining stone walls and all the kokuin are worth the (30 min) bus ride from Fukuyama along with the other castle related sites in the town. The main stone walls around the top of the hill near the entrance to the Tomo City Museum are mostly reconstructed with stone from the original walls. There are a couple side trails around the mountaintop where you can catch glimpses of other stone wall ruins buried in the woods and weeds that seem to be more original.

Tomonoura is well known as one of those great scenic places that people love to flock to, but having visited probably hundreds of such little historical towns and streets in Japan I was fairly underwhelmed by Tomonoura's "Edo Period atmosphere" or the beautiful (?) port. That being said, it was certainly worth the trip for the castle related sites. The main purpose in visiting Tomonoura was to find the relocated nagayamon gate from Fukuyama Castle and the traveling Noh Stage from Fushimi Castle. Check the links for albums about these structures under their respective castles.

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Castle Profile
English Name Tomo Castle
Japanese Name 鞆城
Founder Mori Motonari
Year Founded 1576
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access 30 min bus from Fukuyama Station; walk 15 mins
Visitor Information open any time
Time Required 30 mins
Location Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 23' 7.91" N, 133° 22' 31.15" E
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Added to Jcastle 2024
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2023
Admin Visits June 8, 2023
Friends of JCastle

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