Murakami Castle 村上城
Founder Murakami Yorikatsu
Year 1598
Type Hilltop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Honjo-jo, Maizuru-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Location Murakami, Niigata Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Murakami Sta. (Uetsu Line); 30min walk
Website Virtual Restoration of Murakamai Castle
Visited October 9, 2011
Notes If you visit Shibata Castle, I also recommend you stop by Murakami Castle. There are many nice stone walls hidden in the woods and the Honmaru bailey stone walls are nearly complete. The atmosphere reminds me of Takatori Castle in Nara even though it's not quite the same scale. Parts of the stone walls are under restoration but it shouldn't harm your enjoyment of this castle. The restoration will be in progress until 2014 so don't let it stop you from going now. I recommend late fall or spring before the stone walls are overgrown with weeds. The town also has 5 splendid samurai homes that are highly recommendable.
History The original castle on this mountain was built by the Honjo during the Sengoku Period. It was simply some earthen embankments and dry moats. In 1598, when Murakami Yorikatsu became lord of the area, he transformed it into a modern castle. In 1618, Hori Naoyori also greatly renovated the castle. The castle territory you see today dates from this time period. The Hori also built a three story main keep and developed the castle town around the foot of the mountain. In 1649, Matsudaira Naonori renovated the castle and rebuilt the main keep and most other structures. In 1667, the main keep and honmaru buildings burned down in a fire caused by lightning. The castle switched hands among several other fudai daimyo lords until the Naito clan arrived in 1729. It remained with the Naito until the Meiji restoration where it was all burned to the ground in the Boshin War.
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  • ART    January 08, 2017 at 09:43 PM
    I visited all of the bukeyashiki (samurai homes) before seeing the castle. The guide in the Wakabayashi-bukeyashiki was a real treat. He served hot soup prepared over the hearth in the kitchen, and then showed us a demonstration with samurai sword and the house's secret hiding places.
  • findlayjamie    January 02, 2017 at 04:34 PM
    I visited in August on the way up from Shibata heading to Tsuruoka. It was not well-signed: took me ages to find, but it's wonderful site with fantastic views, and there wasn't a soul around. The town is lovely too.
  • Bryan Baier    July 30, 2012 at 06:32 PM
    Eric, the lower parts of the ground weren't that crowded, but everything within the Hon-maru and Tenshu-dai were quite crowded, but it is possible to find places with no one around.
  • Eric    May 15, 2012 at 09:08 AM
    Thanks Bryan. Was it very crowded like Takato? It is fairly out of the way and less well known so it could be a good "secret" spot for cherry blossoms.
  • Bryan    May 14, 2012 at 10:08 PM
    I visited this castle at the end of April when the sakura were at their peak. It was on par with Takato Castle Ruins Park in Nagano. Definitely worth a visit. The beauty of the sakura alone was worth 5 stars
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Murakami, Niigata Pref.
Murakami Castle views
Honmaru stone walls Site of the lord's mansion
Entrance to the 7 Turns Road The 7 Turns Road
Stone walls to the Yottsumon Gate Remnants of the Yottsumon Gate.
Okanemon Gate stone walls Okanemon Gate
Stone walls under construction Uzumimon Gate
Honmaru as seen from the Uzumimon Gate Entrance to the honmaru
Stone walls of the honmaru Honmaru stone walls
Stone walls inside the Honmaru Honmaru entrance as seen from the inside of the honmaru
Stone walls under construction Stone walls of the East Gate
Stone walls under construction and the view from the honmaru main keep location
View from the Honmaru Stairs inside the Honmaru
Honmaru stone walls Honmaru stone walls
Honmaru stone walls Honmaru stone walls
Honmaru stone walls and nice view Honmaru stone walls
Narita House Takaoka House
Inside the Takaoka House Iwama House
Iwama House Inside the Iwama House
Inside the Iwama House Fujii House
Wakabayashi House Castle Map