Mibu Castle was founded in 1462 by Mibu Tanenari. After the castle was sacked in 1590 during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaign against the Hōjō Clan and thereafter many commanders took possession of the castle in rapid succession, but eventually Yūki Hideyasu held control of the castle. During the Edo Period Hineno Yoshiaki reigned from 1600 to 1634, controlling a fief worth 10,000 koku. Abe Tadāki was castellan from 1634 to 1639; Mibu Domain was valued at 25,000 koku at that time. 1639 - 1692: Miura Masatsugu. 1692 - 1695: Matsudaira Terusada. 1695 - 1712: Katō Akihide. Thereafter until the Meiji Restoration eight generations of the Torii Clan, starting with Torii Tadateru, controlled the domain from Mibujō. In 1868 during the Boshin War, Mbujō was conquered by forces loyal to the Shogunate. After the castle was abandoned in 1871 its remaining gates were sold off and relocated.
The Many Gates of Mibu Castle: Mibujō has several relocated gates spread across central Tochigi Prefecture. I was able to locate two of them, one north of Mibu and one close to Gionjō in Oyama. Another gate still stands where it was originally built in the second bailey of Minbujō. I found another gate which looked likely but I couldn't positively identify it as the one I was looking for since it was located in a near but different location as that indicated on my map. It's not included here. The main site has been done up, with water moats restored and stone blocks stacked at the bottom of earthen ramparts. An old photograph shows what the dorui (earthen ramparts) looked like before the park was renovated. The site is now home to a museum which mostly contain Kofun Period relics but has an interesting model in of what Mibujō looked like, showing the inner and outer compound surrounded by dorui. The inner compound of Mibujō contained the go'ten (Lord's palatial residence). It had a front and back gate. The configuration of the castle was rinkaku-shiki (ring style) with the second bailey looping wholly around the main bailey. The outer bailey also had at least two gates; the gate at the main entrance still stands today. The castle was surrounded by bukeyashiki (samurai homes). A castle is the residence of a lord in the feudal system, although Mibujō looked like a large, fortified manor house. The jōkamachi (castle town) still contains old storefronts today.
|English Name||Mibu Castle|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Artifacts||dorui, gates, relocated gates, mizubori, baileys|
|Features||gates, water moats|
|Access||Mibu Station on the Tobu Utsunomiya Line; walk 15 minutes|
|Visitor Information||Always open, free|
|Time Required||two hours|
|Location||Mibu-machi, Tochigi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 25' 37", 139° 47' 55"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2018|