Tanaka Castle 田中城
Founder Imagawa
Hatakeyama
Year 1537
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Location Fujieda, Shizuoka Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Nishiyaizu Sta. (Tokaido Line); 20 min walk
Visited October 11, 2010
Notes This castle is not very well known and does not appear in many books, but the original structure is very interesting for its circular layout. It's also well known as the place where Tokugawa Ieyasu ate too much sea bream (tai) tenpura which supposedly contributed to his death. If you happen to be in the area, with some free time, it's worth stopping by but there is almost nothing left of the original castle grounds which are now occupied by a school and other facilities. I stopped by here on my way back to Tokyo after completing two hiking courses around Takatenjin Castle and Suwahara Castles. Nishi Yaizu stattion is in between Kanaya (Suwahara Castle) and Shizuoka (Sunpu Castle) stations.
History The history of Tanaka Castle begins with a fortification built by the Isshiki family under the orders of the Imagawa around 1537. The moats and modern castle fortifications were built after Takeda Shingen conquered the area in 1570. After the fall of the Takeda, the castle came under the control of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu liked to use Tanaka Castle as a getaway when he was in nearby Sunpu castle. In particular, he used it for hawking. Through the Edo Period, Tanaka Castle saw a succession of of fudai daimyo (hereditary vassals of the Tokugawa) move into the castle. The castle was mostly dismantled and destroyed during the Meiji Restoration. Some of the buildings were sold to individuals and survived until the villa garden and park were restored in 1992.
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  • RaymondW on My Page    January 08, 2012 at 10:27 PM
    This was the second castle in Shizuoka visited this weekend. There isn’t much left of this rare circular flatland castle ruin. Most of it has been built over by schools and houses. The photos shown on this website are of original buildings from the castle and castle town preserved at a nearby castle park. The two-storey tower is an original fortification from the Honmaru (Main Bailey), as is the footman’s guardhouse, granary and a tea house. However, if you pick up a map from the volunteer guide at Tanaka Castle Park, you will find directions to some of the few remaining ruins of the castle left, mostly located around the local primary school. There is a section of the Sannomaru (Third Bailey) Water Moat preserved along with a section of earthen wall. There is part of the Ninomaru (Second Bailey) Water Moat left as well as part of a dry moat from one of the Umadashi. The volunteer guide was very helpful in providing a brief history of the castle as well as answering questions. He told us that Tanaka Castle is only one of two castles in Japan that was built with circular concentric moats as most Rinkakushiki (castles with concentric moats) like Nijo Castle have square or rectangular moats. Also, he pointed out two of the nearby yamashiro ruins (mountaintop castles) in the area: Asahiyama Castle (which can be seen on a little hill a few kilometers away) and Hanagura Castle. On leaving the castle park, he waved us to stop and gave us two English pamphlets about Tanaka Castle. Unlike some experiences in Japan, this guide was not overwhelmed by having a foreigner visit the local historical site. He spoke in simpler and slower Japanese, so I could follow most of his explanation. I didn’t need much help from my girlfriend in translating what he said. Like other volunteer guides at other castle sites like Kakegawa Castle and Sunpu Castle in Shizuoka, this man was professional, knowledgeable, and courteous. Top marks for volunteer guides in Shizuoka. One star for the original buildings found at the castle park, a half-star for the very few remnants left of this castle ruin, and top marks for the volunteer guide here. Overall, one star for this castle ruin and buildings in the castle park, but on the day, I certainly had a very good three-star experience thanks to the volunteer guide.
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Fujieda, Shizuoka Pref.
Tanaka Castle views
yagura and gate of Tanaka castle 2 story yagura
yagura interior view from the top of the yagura
granary inside the granary
Tea ceremony house footman's home and stable
gate from Kyokutenin Temple original gate relocated to Kyokutenin Temple
map Map