Kofu Castle 甲府城
Founder Tokugawa Ieyasu
Year 1583
Type Hilltop
Condition Other Buildings
Alternate Name Maizuru Castle
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Kofu, Yamanashi Pref.
Map Google Map
Access 3 minute walk from Kofu Station (Chuo Line)
Website Kofu City Sightseeing Guide
Visited November 15, 2003; November 17, 2007
Notes Kofu recently finished restoring the Inari Yagura and Yamanote Gomon gate. The gate is across the opposite side of the train station and tracks so make sure you don't miss it. When the weather is good the top of the castle offers nice views of the surrounding mountains too.
History Kofu Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1583 after he defeated Takeda shingen's heir, Katsuyori, in 1582. Next to Edo Castle, Kofu Castle was the strongest castle in the Kanto region. Until Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu became lord of Kofu Castle, it was also considered to be the residence of the lord closest to the shogun. From 1724 to the end of the Edo Period, the lord of Kofu Castle changed on a rotating basis with around 200 lords having held the title by the end of Edo Period. I have seen reference in some English materials/websites mistakenly claiming that this Kofu Castle (Maizuru Castle) was run by the Takeda. While Kofu was a castle town of the Takeda they actually ruled from the Tsutsujigasaki Yakata.
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  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 11:04 PM
    Maizuru Castle is fairly large with many reconstructed gates: Kuroganemon, Inarikuruwamon, Kajikuruwamon, Uchimatsukagemon, Yamanotemon. There is also a reconstructed turret, Inari-yagura, and a large dōjo building, Butokuden, which is possibly styled on the Go’ten (castle palace).
  • RaymondW    September 13, 2015 at 10:16 PM
    I revisited this castle in mid-August. It's been four years since my previous visit, and in that time they have finished the Kuroganemon. Like Kanazawa Castle, the people that manage this castle ruin seem to be regularly adding new reconstructions. My wife got her 100 Meijo Stamp, and unlike four years ago, they now have a free fold-out brochure about the castle, its history, a 3-D map of the castle grounds, the recontructed structures and methods used to rebuild them, and work to preserve the stone walls. This folds out to four A4 pages and is worth picking up as it is made from quality paper and in colour.
  • David Vasta    May 21, 2015 at 02:52 AM
    I visited Kofu last summer (2014) and stayed at the hotel just next to it (Sunpark Hotel Naito). From my room I had a very good view of the castle and the land around it. I enjoy this castle the most. There were not many people there and it was easy to get around and enjoy it. There was a tour guide that spoke only Japanese who insisted to give me a tour. Mind you I don't speak very good Japanese so I understood about 10% of what he said. For about 40 minutes he told me everything he knew about the castle and pointed out all kinds of things. I spent well over 4 or 5 hours there and admired the work they had done to bring it back. The train station in the middle of the castle made me kind of sad but it was the merging of two very different times in Japan and in a way kind of lovely. I plan to go back again.
  • furinkazan on My Page    May 13, 2014 at 07:09 PM
    I revisted this site today. I was woried by the weather, but after a rainy morning it was very sunny and warm. I leisurely visited the site. I took more than 120 photos(i think my record on one site) and i really enjoyed the reconstructed parts. For info one of the kuroganemon of the honmaru has been reconstructed. It was finished last year. It would be nice if one day the complete castle should be reconstructed, but the railroad-tracks would be in the way.
  • Craig    April 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM
    I'm originally from the north east of England and currently living in Kofu. Kofu castle reminds me very much of Berwick castle. Why? The stupid victorians/meiji era folk knocked the bloody thing down so they could build a train station in the middle of it. On the north side of of kofu station is a small reconstructed gate with a tiny museum on top. South west of Kofu station is the castle park, the walls and the moat are all there and look good and the basic layout of the castle exists. Building wise though there's only a small donjon. I'd love it if they were to reconstruct Kofu castle, it would look magnificent but it isn't to happen and for the time being Kofu castle is nothing more than a park. A quite decent park, particularly in sakura season, but nothing worth going out of your way (which Kofu almost certainly is) for.
  • RaymondW on My Page    August 18, 2011 at 05:32 PM
    I talked with a staff member in the reconstructed Yamanote Gate (rebuilt in 2007.) He told me that most of the gate was built with red pine (akamatsu in Japanese) while some of the broad supporting beams were sourced from another type of tree. Those beams were from trees that were around 1,000 years old. All the wood was sourced from within Japan, and the pine was sourced from within Yamanashi Prefecture. If you go to the Yamanote Gate, they will play a complete video for you lasting 26 minutes. You don’t have to watch the whole thing. The guy there said that I could stop watching it whenever I want. The whole video is in Japanese, but parts of it are pretty interesting about the construction and history of the castle. Kofu Castle has plenty of ishigaki, and it reminds me a little bit of Marugame Castle, where practically the whole hill is encased in stone blocks. They are doing some renovation on part of the ishigaki, so one of the access routes to the honmaru is blocked off. This is a nice castle ruin for castle fans. I gave it three stars because it has a reconstructed turret, a masugata-style gate, lots of reconstructed smaller gates, and plenty of ishigaki. Both the turret and the Yamanote Gate are reconstructed using wood.
  • Kris on My Page    October 27, 2010 at 11:03 PM
    It was a bit early for the Autumn leaves but the grounds were still nice. There was some construction work going on around the honmaru and the Inari yagura. The 100meijo stamp is located in the Onshirin Memorail Hall, and supposedly Inari yagura but the office was closed when I was there. Full marks for comprehensive, bilingual signposts; other than that not as exciting as the other side of the station.
  • furinkazan    August 04, 2009 at 12:07 AM
    Last april i stayed at Kofu for 2 weeks. I went there to attend at the Shingenko-matsuri. From Kofu i went, with the train, every day, to other locations. I had a room in the Toyoko-inn Kofu Ekimae hotel(see faq on this site). Just what i looked after: a bed and a bathroom. On arrival i visited the Yamanote Gomon and the Castle park. The reconstucted towers are very nice. In both you'll find a little museum, with some interesting pieces. The castle park is very beautiful, especially with the sakura in bloom. From a lot of spots one will have a nice view of the Fujisan. You can easily go from the Yamanote Gomon to the Castlepark, using a bridge, which crosses the railroadtracks. The park is used for several contests during the Shingenko-matsuri.
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Kofu, Yamanashi Pref.
Kofu Castle views
moat, bridge, and walls of Kofu Castle donjon foundation
Inari Yagura Yamanote Gomon gate
inside the Yamanote Gomon gate. Yamanote Gomon Gate
Kajikuruwa gate Inarikuruwa Gate
Akagane Gate Akagane Gate
Kurogane gate moats and walls
honmaru wall Bailey and Inari Yagura.
Kofu Castle map stone foundation