Shiwa Castle 志波城
Founder Sakanoue no Tamuramaro
Year 803
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Location Morioka, Iwate Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Morioka Sta (Tohoku Main Line, 15 min taxi)
Website Shiwa Castle
Visited May 22, 2010
Notes This is a place I've very much wanted to visit since I first heard about it. It is a great faithful reconstruction of this ancient type of Japanese castle. The combination of the large tsuijibei walls, topped by these old style yagura is very impressive. I just wish we could go up inside the yagura or gate. There was great weather this day so I went to great lengths to get a couple good pictures with Mt. Iwate in the background.
History Shiwa Castle was built in 803 by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. It was one of several josaku castles built in the Nara and Heian periods to pacify the Tohoku region. It took about 4000 soldiers one year to complete the castle. Shiwa Castle was the largest of these josaku castles. The immesne outer wall is 840 meters long. The outer moat beyond this wall was 930 meters long. It is also estimated that approximately 4000 soldiers and government officials lived within the castle. The war with the local Emishi peoples ended in 811. In 811 Shiwa Castle also suffered flood damage and was abandoned in favor of the recently completed Tokutan Castle.

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  • furinkazan    June 07, 2017 at 05:01 AM
    @Lampshade, If i remember well you can walk around the reconstructed buildings. The walls are not completely finished and i think it isn't fenced off, since the grounds of the castle are partially used for agriculture. I presume the buildings will be closed, even perhaps the doors of the main door.
  • Lampshade    June 02, 2017 at 12:27 AM
    furinkazan, do you know if it would be possible to visit this castle before official opening hours (10am)? I'll be arriving to Morioka at 5:05am and this would be a great way to fill in time.
  • furinkazan on My Page    May 19, 2015 at 09:25 PM
    Since i ended visiting Moriokajô earlier than expected, i went to the informationdesk in Morioka station to get information to go to Shiwajô with the bus. She told me to take a bus for Motomiya at busstop 13 in front of the station. When i arrived at the busstop there was bus 502. This bus is bound for the castle-site. But beware there are only 2 busses in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. The bus ride is 410¥ and stops really on the site. When i got off i immediately went to the welcome panel to take a picture of it and of the reconstructed gate. When i turned around for the information office, a staff-member ran to me just to say that the site is free of charge and she had prepared a leaflet in english for me. In the information office are some artifacts on show and the lady started a video (15min) just for me. I bought the very small booklet for 200¥ about the castle. It's only in japanese but it contains nice drawings and photos. Then i went to the castle. The reconstructed buildings are very interesting. It is a little bit weird, because there are grain- and ricefields on the original place of the castle. I enjoyed this site, even in a muddy circumstance. It didn't rained during my visit, but the ground was soaked. When i returned to the busstop i realised i had to wait about 3.5hours for the next bus. I walked to the Iioka-jumonji stop but saw the bus passing in front of me. The next one would be 1 hour later. I decided to walk to my hotel (right in front of the Morioka station). It's about 5 km. I absolutely recommend this castle.
  • Eric on Tohoku Castle Trip 2010    June 21, 2010 at 08:00 PM
    The most well-reconstructed ancient (10th C.) castle with a huge gate, walls and yagura
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Morioka, Iwate Pref.
Shiwa Castle views
south gate South Gate
South Gate yagura
yagura Gate, yagura and walls
administrative building south gate, inner enclosure
south gate south gate
East Gate West Gate
West Gate West Gate, East Gate
form fo building walls Newly built yagura