|English Name||Natsukawa Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Features||gates, water moats, stone walls|
|Access||Niwase Sta. (San'yo Line, Hakubi Line); 10 min walk|
|Visitor Information||the castle is located on the grounds of a shrine; open year round.|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 38' 35", 133° 50' 50"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
Natsukawa Castle Ruin is a flatland castle which was built in a marshy region. According to the Okayama Board of Education, the main bailey is rectangular measuring 77m from east to west and 57m from north to south. The western side of the bailey is protected by ishigaki (stone walls) 4 metres high assembled in Nozurazumi Style, and the eastern side is protected mainly by earthen ramparts. The stone wall foundation at the northwestern corner indicates that there could have been a yagura (turret) built there. This castle was built in 1559 by Mimura Iechika to protect the area from attacks by Ukita Naoie (whose son built the black castle keep at Okayama Castle). During the Siege of Bitchu-Takamatsu Castle, Natsukawa Castle became one of seven frontier castles that the Mori Clan used to protect their lands. There was a fierce battle between the troops under Inoue Arikage, the lord of Natsukawa Castle at that time, and forces loyal to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After the battle, it came under the control of the Ukita Clan, and the castle was demolished. At the castle ruin, there is an extant gate (the former Natsukawa Chigyosho’s Somon 撫川知行総門) built during the Edo Period and moved to its current location. Natsukawa Castle is a good example of a fairly well preserved Sengoku Period marshland castle ruin in Okayama Prefecture.
Photos and profile by RaymondW.
This small castle ruin is easily accessible by public transport and is only around 10 minutes walk from JR Niwase Station. It is a good example of a marshland castle, incorporating the surrounding streams and marshes as part of its water moat defences. It only takes around 30 minutes to do this little castle site. Along with nearby Niwase Castle Ruin, the two castle ruins can easily be done in around an hour.