Maebashi Castle started from a castle known as Ishikura Castle, which was built as a satellite fortification to Minowa Castle by the Nagano in the late 1400's. In 1534, The Tone River, which ran to the east of the castle and was used as a natural defense, flooded and changed the course of the river, washing away much of the castle. Nagano Masanari, rebuilt the castle as Mayabashi Castle in what remained of the Sannnomaru Bailey. In 1551, Nagano Kenchu surrendered the castle to the Hojo, and fled to join forces with Uesugi Kenshin. Uesugi took Maebashi Castle in 1560 with the Nagano forces. Maebashi Castle was used as the main forward base for Uesugi's further incursions into the Kanto region. The castle was once taken by Takeda Shingen in 1563 but then was retaken by Ueseugi again. The Uesugi commander of Maebashi Castle, Kitajo Takahiro, flipped allegiances from Uesugi to Hojo in 1567 so the castle once again came under Hojo control. In 1569, Kitajo rejoined the Uesugi when an alliance between Hojo and Uesugi was formed to combat incursions by Takeda Shingen. After Uesugi Kenshin died (1578), Kitajo allied with Takeda Katsuyori until Katsuyori's death in 1582. Kitajo surrendered the castle to Ishikawa Kazumasa. A few months later after Oda's death Takigawa left Kanto as well and the castle once again was back in Hojo hands. After the Siege of Odawara (1590), Hiraiwa Chikayoshi, a vassal of Tokugawa Ieyasu was stationed at Maebashi Castle. After the Battle of Sekigahara (1601) Hiraiwa was moved to Kofu and Sakai Shigetada became the new lord of Maebashi Castle. Sakai renovated the castle into a modern Edo Period castle with a 3 level main keep. The Sakai were moved to Himeji in 1749 and the Matsudaira Tomonori became lord of Maebashi.Finally in 1767 the Matsudaira moved to Kawagoe and absorbed the Maebashi domain as part of Kawagoe. The castle was abandoned in 1769.The Maebashi domain was re-established in 1867 but this was short loved as the domain system was abolished in 1871. The castle grounds became the prefectural offices and all the castle buildings were destroyed.
There only real remains are the embankments around the Honmaru bailey which is now the prefectural offices. There should be some stone wall foundation stones in the neighborhood but I could not find them.
|English Name||Maebashi Castle|
|Year Founded||Late 15th C.|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Access||Maebashi Sta (Ryomo Line), 25 min walk|
|Visitor Information||open any time|
|Time Required||20 mins|
|Location||Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 23' 33", 139° 3' 41"|
|Visits||May 3, 2016|