|Admin's Rating||★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆|
|Historical Site||National Historic Site|
|Location||Ninohe, Iwate Pref|
|Access||Ninohe Sta. (Tohoku Main line), 1000 yen taxi|
|Website||Ninohe City Sightseeing|
|Visited||May 22, 2010|
|Notes||This was just a quick stop on my way to Morioka. The castle ruins are well defined and there are good signs explaining parts of the castle.|
Kunohe Castle was built by Kunohe Mitsumasa from 1492-1501. It deflty makes use of three rivers to enhance it's defenses. The Kunohe actually originated from a branch of the Nanbu family which is why their family crest is the same. In 1590, after the fall of Odawara, Hideyoshi shifted his attentions to pacifying the Tohoku region. Nanbu Nobunao who participated in the Siege of Odawara for Hideyoshi was guaranteed that he would retain his own lands and have command of the area. Kunohe Masazane, himself a a renowned warlord, did not agree with this and rebelled against the Nanbu.
Nanbu Nobunao requested assistance from Hideyoshi to put down the revolt and with a combined 60,000 soldiers they circled the castle laying siege to it for 4 days. Masazane was tricked into surrendering by the family priest who was told that all their lives would be spared. When they opened the gates, the Nanbu forces swept in and killed all 5000 people including women and children. Excavations in 2009 found bone fragments from women and children giving evidence to this story.
After the rebellion, Gamo Ujisato renovated the castle but it was later transferred to Nanbu Nobunao. Nobunao abandoned the castle when he moved to Morioka Castle.