Sunpu Castle




Sunpu Castle originally started as a yakata, or fortified palace, for Imakawa Norimasa in the 1400's. However, the exact location of this palace or any other details about it are unknown. An actual castle of the type of castle we think of today was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1585. The main keep of Sunpu Castle was said to have been built three times. The second by Ieyasu in 1605 after he turned over the shogunate to Hidetada and the third was two years later after it burned down in a fire. The third keep also burned to the ground in another fire in 1635 and was never rebuilt. The castle lasted in this state until the Meiji Period when the it was dismantled and the moats were filled in. Sunpu Castle is most well known as the "retirement castle" of Ieyasu after he relinquished the shogunate to Hidetada.

Visit Notes

Most people just view the gate and leave, but the grounds of the castle are quite large and worth your time to walk around. There are are 2 good layers of moats remaining and the stone walls have many owner's marks or inscriptions in them. See how many you can find.

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Castle Profile
English Name Sunpu Castle
Japanese Name 駿府城
Founder Tokugawa Ieyasu
Year Founded 1585
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles
Historical Period Edo Period
Features gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Shizuoka Station (Tokaido main line), 10 minute walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Location Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 58' 40.30" N, 138° 23' 4.16" E
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Year Visited 2004, 2011
Visits February 23, 2004
Added to Jcastle 2004

(19 votes)
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15 months ago
Score 1++

Visited 01 Oct '17. Easy day trip from Tōkyō (under 1.5 hr via shinkansen, another 10-15 min on foot from JR Shizuoka Station). The descriptions I'd seen in advance of my visit tended to emphasise the lack of surviving Edo Period material - which was why my initial low expectations ended up being massively exceeded by the end of the day. Large sections of the Sannomaru moat have survived, although this outermost enceinte is now heavily overbuilt with modern structures; the present-day Sunpu Castle Park encompasses just the former Ninomaru and Honmaru enclosures. The Higashi-gomon and nearby Tatsumi-yagura have been rebuilt using traditional materials and techniques, and this same treatment has been extended to the (relatively) new Hitsujisaru-yagura reconstruction on the opposite edge of the Ninomaru compound. Two sections of the former Honmaru-bori have been unearthed and refilled with water; small portions of the retaining wall that once shored up the Honmaru itself can be seen along the side. There's also an interestingly designed canal (meant for controlling the water level) that links the Honmaru-bori to the larger Ninomaru-bori outside. Just north of this is the beautiful Momijiyama Garden, not really a part of the historic castle complex but nonetheless a delight to walk around in, and the garden's tearoom is a good place to take light refreshment in. West of the garden, I came across the highlight of my visit: a massive archaeological dig focussed on uncovering the long-buried foundations of Sunpu Castle's tenshu (as well as nearby stretches of the Honmaru wall), which haven't seen the light of day since they were torn down and covered over in 1896. (I plan to return to Sunpu a few more times in future Japan holidays just to keep track of progress re: the dig.) Before heading "home" to Tōkyō, I stopped at the Shizuoka Prefectural Government Office's Annex Building (just across the street from the park's southern edge) and took a lift up to the free-of-charge public observation deck on the 21st floor, which offered great views of the entire castle compound - or at least the Ninomaru and Honmaru areas - as well as the city of Shizuoka around it. A 2.5-star site for the most part, but I've given it a full 3 stars thanks to the "big dig".



45 months ago
Score 0++
The link below is to gather donations for excavation only. There is no hard plan for rebuilding in the future, but it is certainly a possibility if there is sufficient information to rebuild it historically accurately. The government is much more strict about rebuilding on national historic sites than they were in the past.

Anonymous user #1

45 months ago
Score 0++

It looks like they're planning on doing some kind of excavation/eventual rebuilding. Here's hoping!


Kiddus i2003Gunshi

55 months ago
Score 0++
Not a lot to see but enjoyed what was there.


71 months ago
Score 0++
I went to Sunpu again at the end of last December as part of a castle trip to the Shizuoka City and Odawara City area. It has been almost two years since my previous visit to this castle. In that time, they have finished restoring the ishigaki (stone walls) around the Otegomon (Main Gate) Ruin. They have started and almost finished building a reconstructed corner watchtower, the Hitsujisaru Yagura in the Nishinomaru (West Bailey.) It will be completed by end of March 2014. Work is also being done on repairing and shoring up a section of ishigaki on the north side of the Sannomaru (Third Bailey) near the Kusabukagomon (Kusabuka Gate) Ruin. BTW, if you look carefully near some of the gate ruins, there are kokuins (insignias) to be found carved into the stone walls indicating which lord was responsible for the construction of that section of ishigaki.


97 months ago
Score 0++
Parts of two of the original three sets of concentric water moats remain, with the middle water moat surrounding the Ninonmaru (Second Bailey) being completely intact. The city has reconstructed the Higashi Gomon (East Gate) and the Tatsumi Yagura (Tatsumi Turret) from Japanese Cyprus. Inside the Higashi Gomon is a museum which includes some nice models of the castle keep, and a big diorama of how the castle and its town looked like during the Edo Period as well as information about the merchant town that grew up around the castle. There are also three nice drawings of and explanations about Azuchi Castle Keep, Osaka (Toyotomi’s Black) Castle Keep, and Sunpu’s Castle Keep side-by-side, so you can really compare the differences in style and design. Sunpu Castle had a keep, which burnt down in 1635 and was not rebuilt. The keep looked like it had five storeys on the outside with five sets of gable roofs, but internally it actually had seven floors. It was a mainly white castle keep with a green roof on the top storey and a section on one of the lower floors that looks in the drawing similar in design to the Tsukimi (Moon-Viewing) Tower part of Matsumoto Castle. The Tatsumi Yagura contains information about the reconstruction of the East Gate and the Tatsumi Turret. The ruins of the gates into the Ninomaru have survived minus the wooden gates. However, most of the Honmaru (Main Bailey) is now just a park with remnants of the innermost water moat left. Sunpu Castle is certainly a good place to visit to find out some information about the Tokugawa Clan as this was the castle where Ieyasu retired to and ranks second in importance after Edo Castle during the early part of the Edo Period. For this castle fan, it rates no higher than 2 stars because there just aren’t enough ruins left, and the fact that the entire Honmaru is now a park with no remains of the former palace or castle keep.


126 months ago
Score 0++
I visited this site on my way to Kakegawajo. When the sakura are blooming, the park and the moats are very beautiful. I think this site deserves 2 stars because the towers were reconstructed using classical materials. But there are not much buildings to visit.