Shibata Castle 新発田城
Founder Mizoguchi Hidekatsu
Mizoguchi
Year 1598
Type Flatland
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Ayame-jo
Reconstructed 2004 (wood)
Structure 3 levels, 3 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site Local Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Historical Artifacts Important Cultural Properties:
Omote Gate, Ninomaru Sumi Yagura
Location Shibata, Niigata Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Shibata Sta. (Uetsu Line), 20 min walk
Website Shibata Castle
Visited October 9, 2011
Notes This is a great little castle to visit if you're not too far away. When considering the original samurai homes, Important Cultural Properties and faithfully reconstructed yagura I gave it 4 stars. It's unfortunate that you can't go in the main keep. Take the time to visit the samurai homes about 1.5km from the castle. They're well worth your time.
History In the Sengoku Period, the Shibata clan ruled over this area and were aligned with Oda Nobunaga, Naturally, that put them at odds with Uesugi Kagekatsu who defeated them in 1587. In 1598, Mizoguchi Hidekatsu founded Shibata Castle under the orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was not completed until 1654 under the third generation Mizoguchi, Mizoguchi Nobunao. In 1872 when the Meiji Government ordered the castle to be dismantled it had 11 yagura and 5 gates. Of those 16 main structures only one gate and one yagura remain today. The majority of the Ninomaru and the Honmaru baileys are now occupied by the a Self Defense Forces base. Because of that you cannot enter the three story yagura pictured above. The closest that you can get is where this picture was taken just across the moat.

The three story yagura pictured above was used as the main keep for the castle. Look closely at the roof of the castle. How many shachi do you see? Indeed, there are three. The roof of the top level is in the shape of a T with a shachi on each end. It is the only yagura in Japan with three shachi on the roof.

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  • ART    January 08, 2017 at 09:51 PM
    The Jieitai have opened up a museum on the castle site, just in front of their base (白壁兵舎広報史料館). The two storey building includes a section dedicated to Shibata Castle, including a cute model of how it originally looked. From this "castle corner" you can get a very nice view of the main turret out of the window, as well as the army barracks below. It's free so do visit here if you have time.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    May 06, 2016 at 08:38 PM
    For the size of what is there and the moated wall it is very impressive, also the locals on hand had English paper to explain the history of it. Another nice detour.
  • furinkazan on My Page    May 28, 2015 at 09:04 PM
    This morning i went first to Nakajô to see the Egami yakata. Some structures have been rebuilt there and there are moats and embankments. It was used at the end of the Heian period and beginning of the Kamakura period. After that i went to Shibata, it's only one station back with the Inaho ltd. express. I visited first the ashigaru nagaya. Very interesting building. When i was already inside, a lady came to me and told me that i had to come to the Shimizu garden first to pay a ticket. She friendly let me finish the visit of the nagaya before i went to the garden. The fee of 800¥ includes the garden, the nagaya and the Bukeyashiki. The garden is very beautiful and at the end there is a storehouse with numerous artifacts( at least 7 armors). After that i went to te Shirakabe Heisha. It was built in 1874 and houses a museum about the japanese army from the Meiji period until the actual Self Defense Force. In it's heyday it was used as barracks. The building is still part of the SDF. The castle is just next to it. The entrance is free and i received a leaflet in english containing a lot of information. I could enter the 3 structures which aren't on the SDF grounds. These are the Omote-mon, the Sumi-yagura and the Tatsumi-yagura. In the Tatsumi-yagura the staff-member was eagerly giving information about the structure of the towers. If you are in the vicinity, i highly recommend a visit to this city.
  • Eric    October 23, 2011 at 10:50 PM
    Thanks Kris! None of my materials provide that extra background. I think they are starting closer to the end of the Sengoku Period when this castle was built.
  • Kris on My Page    October 21, 2011 at 12:30 AM
    Hooray! +1 Castle Visit. Happy to see this profile. I agree totally. Shibata city is a little out of the way but it is a peaceful town in a beautiful location. If you can get a sunny, still day the views of the yagura and gate reflected in the moat are gorgeous. The view down into the SDF base seems kind of like it should be a security risk somehow and the three shachi-hoko roof is a bit hard to get photos of – Sir, I applaud your title pic. More than just the castle, this is one of those places where the whole town is interesting to walk around. There are lots of signs, in Japanese, detailing where parts of the castle complex were. Definitely definitely see the garden, the samurai houses and the ashigaru housing. The souvenir shop sells tatsumi-yagura shape asparagus-flavoured cakes that don't actually taste like asparagus, but castle fans who complain about over- commercialisation and merchandising should be really happy this site has none of that. A note on the history section, the way I had it explained to me, the Echigo Shibata were vassals of the Nagao clan and served under Uesugi Kenshin. Later Shibata Shigeie supported Uesugi Kagekatsu but felt undervalued and dissatisfied with Kagekatsu generally showering love and obis on Naoe Kanetsugu and that is when he decided to ally with the Oda. There was a nondescript statue of Shigeie a few blocks back from the castle on a street lined with old shrines and temples.
  • kyushudan    October 20, 2011 at 01:18 PM
    This place looks totally awesome. It truly is one of the top two or three that I've had my eye on for some time. Looking at these pictures, I'm almost salivating.
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Shibata, Niigata Pref.
Shibata Castle views
main keep main keep
original ninomaru sumi yagura Ninomaru Sumi Yagura
Inside the Ninomaru Sumiyagura Original Omotemon Gate
Omotemon Gate Inside the Omotemon Gate
2 yagura, moat, gate Tatsumi Yagura
Tatsumi Yagura Inside the Tatsumi Yagura
Stones from the Dobashimon Gate Castle map
Ashigaru Nagaya Ashigaru Nagaya
inside the Ashigaru Nagaya map of the longhouse
Ishiguro home