Kakunodate Castle 角館城
Founder Ashina Yoshikatsu
Year 1620
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Asakura-jo, Ryugasaki-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Location Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Kakunodate Station (Akita Shinkansen); 15 minute walk
Website Kakunodate Tourist Association
Visited April, 1998; Aug 8, 2004
Notes The samurai quarter is a must see any time of the year if you are in Akita, but it is most famous for its cherry blossoms. Hundreds of cherry blossom trees line the streets of the samurai district and the nearby river. The weeping shidarazakura cherry trees from Kyoto add an especially historic feel to the samurai homes. It is worth making the trip here from far away for the cherry blossom season. I visited during that time in 1998, but have no pictures available.

When Lord Satake of Ibaraki was reassigned to Akita, the Ashina followed him deciding to settle in Kakunodate. The ruins of the original castle are on top of Mt. Furushiroyama North of the samurai quarter, but there is nothing left to see today.

The town of Kakunodate was originally located to the North of Mt. Furushiroyama. When Ashina Yoshikatsu became lord of Kakunodate he relocated the town to a more suitable location for developing a castle town. It's new location is surrounded by mountains on three sides and open to the Senboku plains to the South by the Tamagawa River. Kakunodate was once the largest castle town in the Akita region. The famous weeping cherry blossom trees were also brought to Kakunodate by the Ashina, descendents of Kyoto aristocrasts.

Five original homes are open to the public. The gate in the picture above is from the Ishiguro Home and dates to 1809.

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  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    July 10, 2016 at 04:45 PM
    The streets were starting to be covered by Sakura which made the visit worthwhile. The Samurai houses were very interesting but very crowded due to the beginning of Hanami.
  • Eric    January 20, 2016 at 11:37 PM
    Guido, I don't know offhand if there are any detailed records of what the castle was like, but I suspect it was a very simple fort with a couple baileys and simple wooden fences. The castle itself only lasted a few years until Kakunodate lost it's "right" to a castle in 1620. The castle town was developed out in a design to act as a large defensive network instead.
  • Guido    January 20, 2016 at 02:26 AM
    Are there any historical records giving an idea of what the castle may have looked like?
  • guillaume.mathias    January 27, 2014 at 06:21 AM
    I agree with Frank, although Kakunodate is worth a visit, the castle itself is a bad joke. Nothing left. IMHO it does not deserve its rating 4/5.
  • Frank T. on My Page    October 16, 2011 at 08:48 PM
    The samurai quarter IS good, but you can see samurai quarters in other places more conveniently located and with castles to go along with them. I took the time to hike up to the actual site of the castle. It's a mosquito infested, overgrown lookout of the town with NOTHING else to see--not even stones.
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Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture
Kakunodate Castle views
Ishiguro House Gate samurai quarter street
Gate of the Odano home. Kawarada Home
The Iwahashi house. a room of the Iwahashi house
Iwahashi house The Matsumoto house
samurai house gate Ishiguro house yakuimon gate