Kokura Castle 小倉城
main keep
Picture Donated by Raffi
Founder Hosokawa Tadaoki
Year 1608
Type Flatland
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Katsuyama-jo, Yuukin-jo
Reconstructed 1959 (concrete)
Structure 4 levels, 5 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Location Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Kokura Sta. (Kagoshima Line)
Website Kokura Castle
Notes not personally visited
History In 1600 after the Battle of Sekigahara, Hosokawa Tadaoki was rewarded the lands of Buzen and Bungo. The ruling castle of the area was really at Nakatsu Castle, but Hosokawa found Kokura to be a much more convenient place from which to rule. It is also located at the vital point in transportation between Kyushu and Honshu. He started building Kokura Castle in 1602 and completed it in 1608.

Hosokawa's Son, Tadatoshi, was moved to Kumamoto in 1632. Ogasawara Tadazane replaced him and 9 generations of his descendents ruled for the next 230 years. The main keep burned down in a fire in 1837 and was not rebuilt. The castle itself was intentionally burned down and abandoned in 1866 when the Ogasawara fled Kokura during the second Battle of Shochuseito.

The reconstructed castle you see today is borogata style with decorative gables called kara hafu and irimoya hafu, but the original main keep was a very simple sotogata and had no such gables.

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Comment on this castle
  • DiegoDeManila    April 19, 2016 at 06:35 AM
    Visited 27 March 2015 (https://withinstrikingdistance.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/field-report-kokura-castle-kitakyushu-japan-27-march-2015/). I arrived after closing time so had to content myself with views from the outside, which - inaccurate reconstruction aside - weren't all that bad. Pencilling this in for another visit (hopefully with the museum and garden open next time), at which point I may reassess my initial 2-star rating.
  • alek_31 on My Page    October 08, 2015 at 11:44 AM
    I gave the castle 1 1/2 stars not because it disappointed me from the collection viewpoint or the state it was in; my bitter disappointment came from seeing its sad situation: a beautiful reminder if the past is now completely surrounded by tall, futuristic (sometimes ridiculous) buildings, the view from the top floor is sad and the state if the Japanese garden next to it made me want to cry. This is the ONLY castle where I didn't take scenery pictures at the top floor. That half star I allowed myself to offer was for the diorama on the 2nd floor (they say it's the largest if its kind in Japan and it has a 4 min. viewing) and the lovely tea serving at the garden, where they prepare the tea in front of you, but it's not as formal and nerve wrecking as an official tea ceremony.
  • Don Kirkman    February 14, 2014 at 04:29 AM
    My wife and I met and courted on the grounds of the Kokura Castle when we were both assigned to the US Army unit stationed on the former site of a Japanese military base neighboring on the castle grounds. She was a civilian from Hawaii and I was an enlisted man assigned to the base. We were married in the Army chapel in 1952, before the reconstruction of the castle. We enjoyed the warm evenings when we were off duty, and we lived off the base after our marriage.
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 12, 2013 at 10:22 PM
    Nothing to add to the comment of RaymondW, apart that i liked to stroll around in the streets of Kokura. There are alot of informationpanels on the streets with a map indicating where you are and the interesting spots surrounding the spot where you are. I arrived too early this morning and the infodesk at the station was still closed, but with the afore mentionned pannels you don't need any other map.
  • RaymondW on My Page    September 12, 2012 at 08:59 PM
    A little slow with writing a comment for Kokura Castle, but I went to this castle as part of my trip down to Kyushu in March earlier this year. Kokura Castle is around 10 minutes on foot from JR Kokura Station. The castle keep is a concrete reconstruction built in 1959. The original castle keep burnt down in a fire in 1837 and was never rebuilt. There is a lot of ishigaki left as well as the ruins of eight gates. Some of stone walls have been restored. There is a building that looks like a reconstructed sumi yagura (corner turret), but it is part of a temple complex now. Any remaining castle buildings were destroyed by the Ogasawara Clan after they lost the Second Battle of Choshuseito in 1866, setting the castle on fire before fleeing to Tagawa. Entry to the castle keep cost 350yen. This is a castle geared towards families as there are lots of hands-on stuff and videos for young kids to try out. There is also a nice diorama of the keep and surrounding castle town as well as a replica room from the Edo Period showing Ogasawara Tadazane meeting his high-ranking officers. For me, this is a solid 2.5 star site and worth a visit for any castle fan in Kitakyushu.
  • Muffo    August 15, 2008 at 07:46 PM
    Really a great place! Ithink it is a must
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Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Pref.
Kokura Castle views
main keep main keep
donjon yagura