Tanaka Castle

From Jcastle.info



The history of Tanaka Castle begins with a fortification built by the Isshiki family under the orders of the Imagawa around 1537. The moats and modern castle fortifications were built after Takeda Shingen conquered the area in 1570. After the fall of the Takeda, the castle came under the control of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu liked to use Tanaka Castle as a getaway when he was in nearby Sunpu castle. In particular, he used it for hawking. Through the Edo Period, Tanaka Castle saw a succession of of fudai daimyo (hereditary vassals of the Tokugawa) move into the castle. The castle was mostly dismantled and destroyed during the Meiji Restoration. Some of the buildings were sold to individuals and survived until the villa garden and park were restored in 1992.

Visit Notes

This castle is not very well known and does not appear in many books, but the original structure is very interesting for its circular layout. It's also well known as the place where Tokugawa Ieyasu ate too much sea bream (tai) tenpura which supposedly contributed to his death. If you happen to be in the area, with some free time, it's worth stopping by but there is almost nothing left of the original castle grounds which are now occupied by a school and other facilities. I stopped by here on my way back to Tokyo after completing two hiking courses around Takatenjin Castle and Suwahara Castles. Nishi Yaizu stattion is in between Kanaya (Suwahara Castle) and Shizuoka (Sunpu Castle) stations.

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Castle Profile
English Name Tanaka Castle
Japanese Name 田中城
Founder Imagawa
Year Founded 1537
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Historical Period Edo Period
Features gates, turrets, samurai homes, water moats, walls
Visitor Information
Access Nishiyaizu Sta. (Tokaido Line); 20 min walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Location Fujieda, Shizuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 52' 13.33" N, 138° 16' 48.72" E
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Year Visited 2010
Visits October 11, 2010
Added to Jcastle 2010

(5 votes)
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30 months ago
Score 0++
The yagura has a rustic quality to it but inside is comfortable tatami matting on both floors. It only has windows on two sides, facing inward toward the villa. Originally those windows would’ve faced away from the castle however. Now the yagura is situated so that visitors can relax with views of the garden and so it has become like a pavilion. In fact I was relaxing here with the whole garden to myself when suddenly a walking tour group came and a huge crowd entered the site. Historical accounts mention that the yagura stood on an ishigaki-yaguradai (stone platform). This has been reconstructed today and to complete the effect a kabukimon entranceway and stucco wall segment have been built next to it.


95 months ago
Score 0++
This was the second castle in Shizuoka visited this weekend. There isn’t much left of this rare circular flatland castle ruin. Most of it has been built over by schools and houses. The photos shown on this website are of original buildings from the castle and castle town preserved at a nearby castle park. The two-storey tower is an original fortification from the Honmaru (Main Bailey), as is the footman’s guardhouse, granary and a tea house. However, if you pick up a map from the volunteer guide at Tanaka Castle Park, you will find directions to some of the few remaining ruins of the castle left, mostly located around the local primary school. There is a section of the Sannomaru (Third Bailey) Water Moat preserved along with a section of earthen wall. There is part of the Ninomaru (Second Bailey) Water Moat left as well as part of a dry moat from one of the Umadashi. The volunteer guide was very helpful in providing a brief history of the castle as well as answering questions. He told us that Tanaka Castle is only one of two castles in Japan that was built with circular concentric moats as most Rinkakushiki (castles with concentric moats) like Nijo Castle have square or rectangular moats. Also, he pointed out two of the nearby yamashiro ruins (mountaintop castles) in the area: Asahiyama Castle (which can be seen on a little hill a few kilometers away) and Hanagura Castle. On leaving the castle park, he waved us to stop and gave us two English pamphlets about Tanaka Castle. Unlike some experiences in Japan, this guide was not overwhelmed by having a foreigner visit the local historical site. He spoke in simpler and slower Japanese, so I could follow most of his explanation. I didn’t need much help from my girlfriend in translating what he said. Like other volunteer guides at other castle sites like Kakegawa Castle and Sunpu Castle in Shizuoka, this man was professional, knowledgeable, and courteous. Top marks for volunteer guides in Shizuoka. One star for the original buildings found at the castle park, a half-star for the very few remnants left of this castle ruin, and top marks for the volunteer guide here. Overall, one star for this castle ruin and buildings in the castle park, but on the day, I certainly had a very good three-star experience thanks to the volunteer guide.