Tsuruga Castle

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Tsurugajou (1).JPG


Tsurugajō was constructed circa 1583 by Yoritaka Hachiya. The castle is thought to have been 500m north-south by 300m east-west in area, constructed with mizubori (moats) and a three-tier donjon. In 1589 Ôtani Yoshitsugu took over as lord with a fiefdom valued at 50,000 koku. He extensively renovated and expanded the castle's moats, making use of Tsuruga's connection to the harbour. In 1600, Ôtani fought for Ishida Mitsunari at the Battle of Sekiǵahara; although he had reservations about fighting Tokugawa Ieyasu, it is said that Lord Ôtani was resolved by Ishida's zeal and righteousness. Ôtani Yoshitsugu died in the battle.

Although Tsurugajō was formally decommissioned in 1616 due to the Ikkoku-Ichijōrei, a decree limiting the number of castles per domain, it later became the domain office of a sub-fief for Tsuruga, as part of the wider Obama Domain, at which time it was known as Tsuruga-daikansho. From 1634 the Sakai Clan, starting with Sakai Tadakatsu, ruled Obama Domain; the sub-fief of Tsuruga became the Mariyama Domain, and it was based at the Mariyama-jin'ya (also called Tsuruga-jin'ya) near to Kaneǵasaki. Gradually the port town of Tsuruga developed, swallowing up the remains of Tsurugajō.

Visit Notes

Tsurugajō is now the site of Shinganji, a temple, and few ruins remain. There are waterways in the neighbourhood which look like they were formerly part of the castle's moats (particularly where they were formerly wider but have clearly been narrowed for road and park expansion). A stone block with a circular hole in it, said to be a foundation stone from the castle, sits before the temple's main hall next to a marker indicating the site of the castle. At another temple, Raigōji, is a gate which was used at the castle, or the later jin'ya, as its nakamon (middle gate) - now it's the sōmon (general gate) of the temple, before the main hall. Other traces of the castle here and there can be found throughout Tsuruga. There is also an information board with some depictions of the castle found at the corner of East Tsuruga Elementary School.

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  • Relocated Nakamon gate seen from rear
  • Relocated jin'ya gate from front
  • Layout of daikansho
  • Former moat of the castle
  • Foundation stone said to have been used at the castle
  • Former Moat Site

Castle Profile
English Name Tsuruga Castle
Japanese Name 敦賀城
Alternate Names 敦賀代官所・敦賀奉行所
Founder Yoritaka Hachiya
Year Founded c. 1583
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Nakamon (Middle Gate)
Features gates, water moats
Visitor Information
Access Tsuruga Station on the Hokuriku Main Line / Obama Line; 15 minute walk to Shinganji; 25 minute walk to Raigōji
Visitor Information 24/7 free; temple
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 39' 18.14" N, 136° 3' 48.96" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Jōkaku Tanbō

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15 months ago
Score 1++
A fairly complete profile by my standards; I've added co-ords because it can be difficult to know where everything is, and I had to do a lot of searching on the web. There is a little drawing of a castle tower on the signboard next to the school. I don't know where the tenshu was located, but presumably where the temple now is. The site of the daikansho is given as the school, and the site of the castle at the temple, but I have treated them as a single site in this profile.