|English Name||Inawashiro Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Edo Period
|Access||Inawashiro Sta. (Ban'etsu Saisen Line); 20 min walk|
|Location||Inawashiro, Fukushima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||37° 33' 43", 140° 6' 14"|
|Visits||July 18, 2011|
Inawashiro Castle was founded by Ashina Tsunetsura in 1191. After moving into the castle he took the surname Inawashiro. The Inawashiro clan ruled Inawashiro Castle for about 400 years. In 1589, the Inawashiro, who had always been on uncertain terms with their distant Ashina relatives, joined forces with Date Masamune in his campaign asgainst the Ashina. At a decisive battle at Suriagehara, the Date forces crushed the Ashina and Date moved into Wakamatsu. After Date's departure to Yonezawa, the castle was controlled by Gamo Ujisato, Uusugi Kagekatsu and then again returned to Gamo clan hands, followed by the Kato and was finally ruled by the Matsudaira until the end of the Edo Period. Inawashiro castle was an exception to the One Castle Per Country law of the Tokugawa and was maintained until the end of the Edo Period. It is often called Kamegajo, reflecting it's close relation to Tsurugajo of Aizu Wakamatsu. In Japanese, the tsuru (crane) and kame (turtle) are both symbols of good fortune and long life.
Inawashiro Castle, also known as Kamegajo, is a perfect companion to visit along your way to Aizu Wakamatsu. It has an interesting layout with several well maintained baileys and moats and is one of the few Tohoku castles with significant stone walls which makes it a worthwhile stop for any castle fans. If you have time the Mt Bandai area and Lake Inawashiro are both fun places to relax for a day or two.