Saga Castle




In 1608 Nabeshima Naoshige and his son Katsushige built Saga Castle from by expanding on and utilizing much of the former Muranaka Castle which belonged to the Sengoku period lords of the Ryuzoji clan. Saga Castle was plagued by fires. Between 1716-1736 most of the castle buildings including the main keep burned down. The main keep was never rebuilt but the palace and government buildings were rebuilt centering on the Ninomaru compound. In 1835 the Ninomaru Palace among other buildings burned down so they moved back to the Honmaru compound where a new palace was constructed. The extant Shachinomon gate and connected yagura date from this time period (1838) and the reconstructed palace also reflects the Honmaru palace from this period.

Much of the castle also burned down during the Saga Rebellion of 1874. The Honmaru Palace actually survived through the Meiji Period and was used as government offices and a school until it was dismantled in 1957.

Visit Notes

Photos donated by Daniel from Japanese Castle Explorer


Castle Profile
English Name Saga Castle
Japanese Name 佐賀城
Founder Nabeshima Naoshige
Year Founded 1608
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Artifacts Shachinomon and tsuzuki yagura
Features gates, palace, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Saga Sta. (Nagasaki Line); 10 min bus.
Visitor Information
Time Required
Location Saga, Saga Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 14' 44.20" N, 130° 18' 9.11" E
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Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Added to Jcastle 2009

(14 votes)
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11 days ago
Score 0++
I enjoyed this site and thought highly of the restorations. It's just a shame so much had to be restored in the first place. Even though I wouldn't mind paying, entry into the honmaru goten is free. I even got a free tour in (passable) English.


22 months ago
Score 1++
I don't think I can add much to what others have said here. This is a very interesting castle site that did a splendid job at reconstructing a large part of the palace, including an original part of it in the process. Everything, including the good audio guide, is for free. They seem to have many activities for small children.


24 months ago
Score 0++
I really like how the castle still looks traditional.


45 months ago
Score 0++
Visited 25 March 2015 (https://with...-march-2015/). Excellent job on the reconstructed palace, and the English audio guide (free) is both detailed and well produced. Friendly and accommodating staff - special shout-out to the fine gentleman in the Goza-no-ma who accompanied me as I toured the palace and patiently answered my questions (all the while tolerating my atrocious Japanese). Admission is free, but donations are appreciated; give generously if you can as it certainly seems well deserved.


80 months ago
Score 0++
I give it 3 stars because of the wonderful information you get with the free audioguide and the panels around the palace. I was struck that the reconstruction is actually 80cm above the real site. In one section of the palace you can see the old base-stones. To protect these they have put some earth on them and then they have put new base-stones right above the old ones to build the new buildings. In the doors of the Shachinomon you can see some bulletholes from the fightings during the Boshin-war. This is really a nice site to visit. I recommend it.


81 months ago
Score 0++
Audio guide at museum was very good and friendly staff, made this one of the most informative museum experiences


94 months ago
Score 0++
As Kyushu Dan has mentioned below, there aren’t as many stone walls to see here as at other castle sites, but it has enough including the tenshudai (stone foundation of the castle keep). However, the real attraction at this site is the carefully reconstructed palace using four different kinds of wood. The columns are Japanese Cyprus (Hinoki) and the horizontal roof beams are pine (Matsu). Cedar and zelkova were used, too. The museum located in the reconstructed palace is very well organized with free audio-guides in English and many major signs included an English section. Actually, the whole place is free, but they do have a donation box out. I put in 1,000yen as most castle sites would charge at least 300 to 400 yen plus maybe another 500 yen for the audio guide. They have done a wonderful job of rebuilding a significant portion of the palace from the Edo Period. No worries about supporting castle sites that actually preserve and rebuild structures using traditional materials. There is one section of the palace that is original. The Gozanoma was built in 1838. It was moved somewhere else and then moved back to be part of the restored palace, so the wood there is obviously darker and older-looking. The palace is not as flashy as Kumamoto Castle’s Honmaru Palace, but it is much bigger than the reconstructed one at Sasayama Castle and the original one at Kakegawa Castle. This is a great site to visit, and the staff is very helpful and friendly. A couple of them can speak English as well. A huge thumbs up for this site, and I reckon most castle fans would enjoy Saga Castle. Three stars for the site and a very good experience with the museum, the organization with plenty of English support, and the helpful and friendly staff.


123 months ago
Score 0++
It struck me after having spent the morning at Fukuoka castle, where stone foundations/walls are everywhere, how little stonework there is here. Stone isn't everything though, the moats are some of the widest I've seen and for me the gate tops it off nicely.