In 1455, Makuwari Yasutane, a relative of the Chiba, attacked Chiba Castle and defeated the Chiba. Makuwari took the name of Chiba and his son Suketane built this new castle on the shores of Lake Inba Numa. The Chiba built a thriving castle town and continued to rule until the fall of the Hojo in 1590. At that time, the inland sea of Kasumigaura was much much larger than today including Lake Inba Numa and other nearby rivers that either no longer exist or flow differently than at that time. The location on the shore was a vital point for transportation and trade around the sea and along the Shimousa Highway. In the 1500's the Chiba aligned themselves with the very powerful Hojo to help fortify each other's borders from the Satake and the Satomi clans. The Hojo helped Chiba to further fortify the castle, namely by adding the Settai Bailey and Mukai Negoya Bailey. The castle was abandoned when Tokugawa moved to Edo.
This site had more to see than I expected. There are some great horikiri dry moats, and the different baileys are well defined. The town is faithfully preserving this historic site. They are continuously doing excavation work and sometimes offer guided tours or lectures. The tours often take different routes and have different themes. Refer to <a href="http://net-sakura.jimdo.com/本佐倉城/">this website for details</a>. Depending on the book you read it may say it takes anywhere from 10 mins to 25 mins to walk to the castle, but it depends on which part you go to first. The main entrance in the photo above is about 20 mins. The closest bailey, Settai Kuruwa, is 10 mins or less from the station and easy to find if you follow the Japanese signs from the station. Please note that the location of this castle on Google Maps is wrong. The label is (I think) at the outer bailey, Mukai Negoya Kuruwa, not the main part of the castle. I missed that bailey this time but will seek it out again, perhaps on a tour.
|English Name||Motosakura Castle|
|Year Founded||late 1400's|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Oosakura Sta. (Keisei Line), walk 10-20 mins|
|Visitor Information||park is open year round, no fees|
|Time Required||75 mins|
|Location||Shisui Town, Chiba Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 43' 40", 140° 15' 36"|
|Visits||Dec. 23, 2012|