Maruoka Castle 丸岡城
Founder Shibata Katsutoyo
Year 1576
Type Hilltop
Condition Original
Alternate Name Kasumiga-jo
Structure 2 levels, 3 floors
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Historical Artifacts Important Cultural Properties:
Location Sakai, Fukui Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Awara-onsen Sta. (Hokuriku Line), Keifuku bus to Hon-maruoka and get off at Shiro-iriguchi (20mins, buses hourly). Hourly buses (Keifuku) also run from Fukui station
Website Sakai City
Visited June 13, 2006

Maruoka-jo was Built by Shibata Katsutoyo, nephew of Shibata Katsuie, in 1576. The castle had 17 lords until the Meiji Restoration including Aoyama Shurinsuke, Honda Narishige, and Arima Kiyosumi. The keep was levelled by the Fukui earthquake of 1948, but the keep was rebuilt using 80% of the original materials in 1955. The keep has three stories with an original wood interior and stone-tile roof, and is located on a hill in the middle of a rather large plain. Both the size of the keep and interior are very similar to that of Inuyama castle. At the bottom of the hill there is a small history museum with displays related to the lords of Maruoka castle (admission included in castle ticket). Like both Inuyama and Matsumoto, Maruoka claims to have the oldest remaining keep in Japan. It is designated Important Cultural Property.(history by Sasha B.)

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  • jthaas    September 19, 2016 at 08:55 AM
    It is also possible to take a taxi from JR Maruoka. As you exit the station, there's a small phone booth across the road with a free taxi phone. The helpful people in the shop at the castle will phone for a taxi for the return trip.
  • Miko    June 16, 2015 at 09:51 PM
    There are also buses to the castle from Fukui Station.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    May 17, 2014 at 10:32 PM
    Thought I'd miss this castle , but stumbled on it by accident , well worth the visit.
  • bryanbaier on My Page    February 13, 2012 at 10:12 PM
    Small but don't forget it is the oldest in Japan and 80% of it is original.
  • regan53    August 30, 2011 at 08:40 PM
    Visited 22nd August 2011. Excellent! Small, but original and very well maintained (even the museum is worthy of a few minutes) - overall, well worth the trip from Fukui. Note: If arriving by JR Marouka, simply take the bus to Maruoka Bus Station (there is also a bus direct from Fukui). From there it's a 10 minute walk.
  • RonS    August 09, 2011 at 02:51 PM
    Definitely worth a visit. Compare it with later constructions like Hikone and Himeji and you can see how the design of castle keeps evolved. The interior stairways are the steepest I've ever encountered in the over 50 J castles I've visited; nearly vertical with a rope added for assistance!
  • furinkazan on My Page    October 18, 2010 at 05:55 PM
    Today i went to this castle. Because of the beautiful weather i decided to walk from Maruoka-station(=+/4.5km). This is a neat castle to visit because it's Japan's oldest authentic keep. There is nothing displayed in the tenshu, but the structure alone is worth the visit. With the ticket for the castle you have access to the little museum beneath the keep. There are some realy interesting artifacts on display, like a piece of an uma-yoroi (=horse-armor).
  • Peter    February 18, 2009 at 07:24 AM
    This is the castle that Kurosawa modeled the castle he built for the movie Ran after.
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Sakai, Fukui Pref.
Maruoka Castle views
maruoka castle main keep Maruoka Castle main keep
second floor interior Maruoka Castle interior
Maruoka Castle interior stairs stone walls