Karatsu Castle 唐津城
main keep
Picture Donated by Furinkazan
Founder Terasawa Hirotaka
Year 1608
Type Hilltop
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Maizuru-jo
Reconstructed 1966 (concrete)
Structure 5 levels, 5 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Location Karatsu, Saga Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Karatsu Sta. (Chikuhi Line, Karatsu Line); 20 minute walk
Website Karatsu City Sightseeing
Notes not personally visited. Pictures donated by Raffi.
History Terasawa Hirotaka, a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was stationed in Karatsu in 1595. In the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 he joined the Tokugawa forces and and attacked Gifu Castle. He was rewarded with greater lands around Karatsu and built the castle from 1602 - 1608. The castle made use of some parts from Hideyoshi's Nagoya Castle which was dismantled after his fall.

The rein of the Terasawa clan ended after Hirotaka's son Katataka committed suicide in 1647 leaving no heirs. The castle was ruled by five other families until it was dismantled in the Meiji Period. Even though a mock main keep stands on the site today, some say a main keep was never actually built. Theyb only built the foundation for one.

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  • RaymondW    April 21, 2013 at 08:26 AM
    Hope you are enjoying your Kyushu tour, Furinkazan. I had a great time there last year when I toured just the northern part of Kyushu. About a year ago, they had individually labelled the tenshudai stones in a grid pattern. On the day that I went to Karatsu Castle, I just managed to get in Hizen-Nagoya Castle Ruin as well. Karatsu Castle is a beautiful looking castle from a distance, perched on top of a hill on a peninsular at the entrance to the harbour.
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 15, 2013 at 05:31 PM
    This castle merits it's 3.5 stars. Like RaymondW mentionned earlier there are works goning on. Actually they have removed some part of the ishigaki of the tenshudai. I asked a friendly english speaking staffmember when the works will end. They don't know, because during the repairs they have found some original walls. Some parts of the works are halted for studying the discoveries.
  • RaymondW on My Page    March 05, 2012 at 09:26 PM
    This castle with a reconstructed five-storey keep can easily be done in a day trip from either Fukuoka City or Saga City. For a reconstructed castle keep, the builders have made an effort to disguise the concrete interior by adding wooden panels to the walls and supporting columns. The museum inside has a nice model of what the castle keep looked like. It also splits in half to show the interior. There are also a few suits of samurai armour and their weaponry in the museum. This castle site is photogenic on a sunny day as it is built on a peninsular overlooking the protected harbour. There aren’t many other structures remaining apart from the castle keep, two yaguramons (turreted gate), and a few reconstructed yaguras (turrets). The reconstructed Kita Yaguramon at the north end of the Honmaru (Main Bailey) houses the souvenir shop. One of the outer turrets has been rebuilt and can be found in the city not far from the bus centre. It is the Tatsumi Yagura in the former Sanomaru (Third Bailey). Only a little corner of the Sanomaru is left. Parts of the Sanomaru ishigaki and the water moat, which separated the Sanomaru from the original castle town, can also be found in front of the Karatsu City Hall. Some of the structures of original Karatsu Castle completed were built with materials taken from the demolished Hizen Nagoya Castle. Right now, Karatsu Castle is undergoing some restoration with parts of the Honmaru walls being repaired and half of the bailey (Ninokuruwa) below the Honmaru is closed to the public. The restoration work around the castle started in 2008 and is ongoing with no date mentioned for its anticipated completion (as far as I could make out from the Japanese signs.) This is a solid three-star castle site with a great view of the ocean and surrounding coastline.
  • Frank T. on My Page    October 08, 2011 at 11:20 PM
    This is a great little castle, mainly due to the view from the top and the view of the castle as you approach. By all means get a photo from the causeway similar to one posted here.
  • RaymondW    September 03, 2011 at 09:29 PM
    G'day Regan53, Do you know when the building works will be over? There is a chance that I might go to the northern part of Kyushu later this year to visit a few castles. Cheers, Raymond
  • regan53    August 30, 2011 at 08:44 PM
    Visited 29th August 2011. Was surprised by how good this was. Yes, it's a concrete rebuild, but they're proud of their past here, and it shows. At present there are major building works underway, so the castle entrance fee is being waved. But overall, still worth visiting, and Karatsu is a nice place too.
  • mike    July 01, 2011 at 05:45 AM
    My wife and I visited in 1969 and still have kmemories of walking through the levels and seeing the battle gear etc.
  • Yui    August 26, 2008 at 11:22 AM
    Hello. I'm Japanese girl and I was born in Karatsu City. I'm glad to see this site, and you refer to our little castle. "Maizuru-jo" means cranes' circles in the sky, you know. Thank you for your posting this castle's introducing.
  • Eric (webmaster)    January 13, 2008 at 01:53 PM
    Paul, you can send them in email to eric -at- jcastle.info. Thank you !
  • Paul Herron    January 13, 2008 at 05:02 AM
    I have a lot of pictures of Karatsu-jo and would like to send them to you. How do I get them to you?
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Karatsu, Saga Pref.
Karatsu Castle views
main keep Main keep
Main keep atop the hill map