Tatsuoka Castle 龍岡城
Founder Matssudaira Norikata
Year 1864
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Alternate Name Tatsuoka Goryokaku, Tanoguchi Jinya
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Location Saku City, Nagano
Map Google Map
Access Tatsuokajo Sta./Usuda Sta. (JR Yatsugatake Kogen Line); walk 20 mins
Website Saku Sightseeing - Tatsuoka Goryokaku
Visited September 21, 2011
Notes This is one of only two 5 point sar shaped forts in Japan. Be sure to view the Google map where you can very easily see the star shape that you can't get from this pictures. The castle is about the same distance from either Usuda or Tatsuokajo Stations. I walked from Usuda to the castle and then out to Tatsuokajo. The castle grounds are now occupied by an elementary school, but apparently they are open for walking around. Be sure you don't miss the original gate and wall about a 10 min walk from the castle. the town also has some old temples that are worth a visit if you're there.
History Matsudaira Norikata founded the castle in 1864. Unfortunately, it was never totally finished by the time the Meiji Restoration began and it was abandoned in 1871. Rather than a huge fort like that of Goryokaku, Tatsuoka Castle is comparatively smaller and it's thought that it was intended as a residence rather than a large scale castle. Also, despite taking in the elements of a European star shaped fortress the moats are fairly narrow and shallow so it would not have been a very strong fortress. Norikata was well respected and served the shogunate in several high ranking positions. After the Meiji Restoration he helped found Hakuaisha, which would later become the Japan Red Cross.
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  • Frank T. on My Page    October 05, 2011 at 11:11 PM
    This is one of what I thought were only two western-style star forts in Japan until two more near Hakodate were recently posted on this site. These new two are small and not really stars but rather diamonds or rectangles. Tatsuoka is not as grand as Goryokaku in Hakodate, but it is a genuine star fort. It's occupied by an elementary school, although they don't seem to mind people walking around with cameras. As is often the case, I also pulled up my motorcycle on the grounds and parked. As long as you're not causing problems or arriving in large numbers, I don't think anybody will mind. Having said all that, Tatsuoka is historically interesting, but go to Goryokaku in Hakodate if you want to see a much better preserved star fort and feel free to explore it.
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Saku City, Nagano
Tatsuoka Castle views
moat and stone walls Oteguchi entrance
moat and stone walls kitchen
original gate and wall stone walls
stone walls moat and stone walls
moat and stone walls entrance to the inner grounds
moat and stone walls moat and stone walls
moat and stone walls moat and stone walls
stone walls of a masugata gate map