Shirakawa Castle 白河城
Founder Niwa Nagashige
Year 1627
Type Hilltop
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Komine-jo
Reconstructed 1991 (wood)
Structure 3 levels, 3 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Local Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Shirakawa Station (Tohoku Honsen), 7 minute walk
Website Shirakawa City
Visited September 1998, September 13, 2003
Notes The moats and walls around this castle are very well preserved. If you're in the area it is definitely worth a stop. Walk around the full outside of the castle to see the stone walls well. The main keep is also very well rebuilt.
History Komine-jo was originally built by the Yuuki in 1340. In 1627 it was taken over by Niwa Nagashige. Nagashige renovated the castle and renamed it Shirakawa-jo. At the beginning of the Edo period the castle was given to the Aizu Matsudaira by the Tokugawa government. The Matsudaira clan governed it until it fell during the Boshin War .
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  • rebolforces    April 12, 2017 at 09:16 PM
    Rebuilding is still in progress, most areas are accessible, but the main gate entrance/steps are still under repair. The parts of the wall that have been rebuilt are quite impressive, circular/convex? pattern of the stones in the wall. They have managed to re-use over 60% of the existing stone in the rebuild. And it still free, but there is a donation box. Numerous construction cranes are currently dotted parts of the wall that are still under repair. Worth a visit if in the area.
  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 11:20 PM
    The interior is beautiful. You can see here what the castle was like when it was freshly built in the Edo Period!
  • Eric    May 12, 2015 at 07:35 AM
    I heard that the main keep was just reopened before Golden Week so you are lucky !
  • furinkazan on My Page    May 11, 2015 at 08:57 PM
    Went this morning to this castle. Getting to it is not difficult. Just go left after leaving the station. Go through the tunnel underneath the railroad. In the tunnel there are some photos of the site after the earthquakes of 2011 and of repairs already done. I first went around the site, but the big trees around the castle obstruct almost all of the ishigaki. Some roads are closed due to the repairs. Then i went inside the tower. Yes it's open and free of charge. The structure is really nice. There are still works going on the ishigaki.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    May 17, 2014 at 10:52 PM
    Would have liked to see inside but it was blocked off till works on retaining walls are finished. Still a very impressive sight.
  • Ben Crabtree    September 25, 2012 at 03:16 PM
    We visited Shirakawa Jo on Sept 9, 2012. There was still a fence blocking off the site from the public. The damage to the walls was really apparent even from a distance. While the work is ongoing, it does not seem like this will be open for quite some time.
  • Usagi on My Page    January 02, 2012 at 07:33 PM
    We first went to this castle just before the earthquake in March and was interested to see what damage had occurred since. I was very surprised to see how much structural damage had occurred to the outer walls that have temporarily closed access to the castle itself.
  • Frank T. on My Page    October 16, 2011 at 08:56 PM
    This is a very good reconstruction--it's wooden, after all--but the grounds need some serious attention, and not because of the earthquake. Both times I visited the weeds and overgrowth were horrendous. I guess they can't afford gardeners. Too bad, because the keep, wall, and gate do look great.
  • Rheagan    September 04, 2011 at 05:32 PM
    Visited on 4th September 2011 on the way to Aizu Wakamatsu. The rampart walls have sustained considerable earthquake damage. Some of this is already overgrown, so maybe not everything is from those dreadful recent events. Anyway, the Castle is currently closed to visitors and there was no clear answer from the visitor centre when it would be re-opened. Regrettably, there is not very much to see at the present time.
  • john    April 20, 2011 at 11:04 AM
    y'know.... somebody took a picture of the burnt-out keep, or as i should say, stone base somepoint after the boshin war
  • Eric    January 02, 2011 at 10:24 PM
    Thanks Kris. Fixed, but English only.
  • Kris    December 31, 2010 at 09:16 PM
    Above link also seems out-dated.
  • Kris on My Page    December 31, 2010 at 09:13 PM
    I went north on holiday and decided along the way I could see Shirakawa, Nihonmatsu – even though they were closed for the year. At Shirakawa, site of the famous barrier, it started to snow as I walked up to the castle. I took photos of the ishigaki, the yagura, the snow falling through the giant gate and of the autumn grasses dying besides the moat. I was mildly impressed people were still fishing in the moat despite the snow fall. Visiting castles when they are closed for winter is a wonderful idea – terribly misanthropic, no access to the museums or buildings, but I save thousands I'd otherwise spend on omiyage and yuru-chara goods and I have the entire place to myself except for one other person who also apparently enjoys visiting closed castles in a snowstorm. The station building is one of the top 100 Stations of Japan – making this a rekijo and tetsujo adventure. I will definitely come back, next time I am on the Tohoku line, to see the Komine-jo museum (get the stamp), see the seki-sho (quite a hike), and go to the Adachigahara oni-baba theme park (Bappy-chan goods).
  • john    April 03, 2010 at 11:13 AM
    ahh, at last we have a modern wooden reconstruction.
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Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture
Shirakawa Castle views
main keep main keep and gate
honmaru stone wall Taiko gate
Gate, ninomaru, and main keep Honmaru moat
Honmaru stone walls Honmaru stone walls
honmaru stone wall inside the donjon
stone walls