Sakura Castle 佐倉城
Founder Doi Toshikatsu
Year 1610
Type Hilltop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Kashima-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Local Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Sakura, Chiba Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Sakura Sta. (Keisei Dentetsu line), 15 min walk; Sakura Sta. (JR Sobu line), 20 min walk.
Website Sakura City Sightseeing
Visited March 22, 2008
Notes Stop by the tourist information center just outside the Keisei Dentetsu station across the street. They have the best pamphlet of history, maps and photos I've ever seen for a site that is just ruins like this. The bukeyashiki (samurai houses) near the JR Station are very well preserved and definitely worth visiting if you have time. The grounds of the castle also contain a large museum of national history. You can also visit the ruins of Moto Sakura Castle nearby.

Doi Toshikatsu started building this castle under the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1610. It took 7 years to complete. Doi built upon the unfinished work of the Chiba who had started building a castle called Kashima Castle on this site in the Sengoku Period. Throughout the Edo Period, Sakura Castle saw several powerful lords loyal to the Tokugawa rule from here. It was considered a strategically important location to protect the Eastern flank of Edo.

The castle was a large expansive castle which was famous for the fact that it had absolutely no stone walls. Only deep dry moats or earthen embankments to mark off the baileys and provide protection. The tenshu (main keep) was actually a yagura moved there from Edo Castle.

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  • Eric    May 14, 2017 at 08:18 AM
    Furinkazan, thanks for the information and great story. I often tell people that visiting castles is certainly one fun objective, but all the nice people you meet along the way and visiting towns and locations you would never have a reason to visit otherwise are some of the best memories from visiting castles.
  • furinkazan on My Page    May 13, 2017 at 10:05 PM
    I had scheduled to visit 2 or even 3 castles if time permitted. But because of the wheather it ended by this one. I rented a bicycle at the information center just underneath the JR Sakura station. The rain was still manageable. I went first to the bukeyashiki. There i encountered an english speaking guide who was eager to make the visit with me. He had visited several European countries, even Belgium. He could say hello and that he couldn't speak french, in french. We had a great time together. He was amazed by my knowledge of japanese history and architecture. The rain began to fall harder and i went to the center where you find the 100 meijô stamp. When i got of the cycle i discovered that i had lost my umbrella. Very annoying to take pictures in such conditions. I went inside the little shed and a man came in. He asked me from where i come and what i was doing. I showed him my 100 meijô stamp book and told him about my umbrella. He was so impressed that a foreigner, not living in Japan, had visited so many castles, that he gave me his umbrella as gift. I didn’t expect that, but it came in handy. I visited as much of the ruins as possible. I was not expecting such deep moats and embankments, even after reading the other comments. But since the rain fell even harder and it was noon, i decided to have shelter in the restaurant of the National history museum. After a good meal i visited the museum. You may take photos without flash of almost everything and i did. There are several models of castles or jôkamachi streets. There is a nice model of Sakurajô when the army used it. I spend more than 3 hours inside, but i saw that i was already late to bring the cycle back to the information centre. The rain had stopped and i spurred to bring it back. The lady was just waiting for me to close her office. I really recommend Sakura city for history fans.
  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 10:57 PM
    I was impressed by the large and extensive dorui (earthen embankments) at Sakurajō extending far beyond the castle’s honmaru (main bailey). Sakurajō was built mostly with dorui instead of ishigaki (stone walls), and I rate it as the second greatest dorui castle I’ve visited, after Kubotajō in Akita. From cuts made into the dorui in later times, we can see how thick and high the earth was piled up. The current castle park has scenic moat segments and ravines surrounding the baileys, and Japan’s "the national history museum" is next to the park. The wet moats at the base of the hill had pink lilies blooming in them, and the dry moats around the sannomaru and shiikinomaru baileys were very well maintained and carpeted with neat turf so that one could see their precise V-shaped cuts.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    May 23, 2016 at 10:20 PM
    Not a lot to see , but the Museum of Japan history on the grounds is a must see.
  • Kris on My Page    January 12, 2013 at 11:53 PM
    I always wondered why Sakura got the 100 Meijo rating - all the pictures I had seen made it look small, flat and kind of dull. (I kind of suspected that the museum had slipped in a bribe...) Still, I`m not alone, Sakura is probably a lot larger, higher and more interesting than most people expect. The deep earthen moats are impressive - there are reasonable explanations, even a statue of Sakura Lord, Hotta Masayoshi. (In that way I guess this castle could be the start of studying English in Japan....) Ran short of time far too quickly.
  • RaymondW on My Page    August 07, 2012 at 09:06 PM
    This castle has lots of massive and deep moats with earthen walls. The deep moats remind me of the ones at Suwahara Castle. There is nothing left at Sakura Castle now except for the moats, earthen walls, and some stone stairs in the honmaru. The site is quite well signposted. The 100 Meijo Stamp can be found in a tiny little shed near one of the carparks.
  • Usagi on My Page    February 06, 2012 at 12:20 AM
    Interesting grounds to walk around for both the castle ruins and the history of the area. The park has numerous photos of old buildings and ruins marked. The park was also used as army barracks during the war and these areas are also marked out.
  • James on My Page    January 06, 2011 at 12:05 AM
    Whilst the castle itself has been reduced to ruins the park it is located in makes for a wonderful scenic walk and still presents an idea of the scale of the castle grounds. The on-site national history museam is also worth a visit with extensive information on the local area and a number of exibits to see. Ideally visit in spring to catch the cherry blossoms.
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Sakura, Chiba Pref.
Sakura Castle views
dry moat, umadashi gate moat
dry moat, umadashi gate dry moat
remnants of the sumi yagura remnants of the Ichinomon Gate.
earthern walls main keep foundation
Honmaru bailey moat
moat Sakura Castle map
samurai home samurai home and armor
samurai home samurai home