Annaka Castle

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The castle was built by Annaka Tadamasa to defend against incursions by Takeda Shingen. Tadamasa's son capitulated to Takeda Shingen and joined forces with him remaining as castellan of Annaka Castle. Annaka was killed at the Battle of Nagashino and the castle was abandoned. Due to it's strategic importance along the Nakasendo Road, the Annaka Province was established by the Tokugawa in 1614. Ii Naomasa's eldest son, Naokatsu, was made lord of the new Annaka domain. After the Ii, the lord of Annaka was always chosen from among those most loyal to the Tokugawa because of that important location on the Nakasendo to collect taxes and monitor traffic. Even in the Edo Period there was very little fortification around the castle.

Visit Notes

There is nothing left to see of the castle, but the samurai homes are fantastic. It is worth going out of your way to visit them. In particular, there are only a few examples of an original row house throughout Japan.

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  • Stone sign for the castle in the elementary school parking lot
  • Map of Annaka Castle form inside the Buke Nagaya
  • Map of Annaka Castle
  • Row House (Nagaya)
  • Entrance to the Nagaya
  • Nagaya
  • Outside the nagaya
  • Nagaya
  • Nagaya
  • Nagaya
  • Inside one of the apartments
  • Inside one of the apartments. Note the finished ceiling and tokonoma alcove on the left. The room was for entertaining visitors.
  • Zashiki room in another apartment
  • Unfinished ceiling of another room
  • Nagaya rooms
  • Design for the Nagaya
  • Kori Bugyo Residence
  • Original house
  • Shikidai, the formal entrance to the home
  • Nagaya Gate
  • Looking over the gardens
  • Inside the house
  • Formal zashiki room
  • Inside the house
  • Outline of the home

Castle Profile
English Name Annaka Castle
Japanese Name 安中城
Founder Annaka Tadamasa
Year Founded 1559
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Historical Period Edo Period
Features gates, samurai homes, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Annaka Station (Shin'etsu line), 20 min walk
Visitor Information 9am-5pm (Dec-Feb: 9am-4:30pm); 210 yen entrance fee for the samurai homes
Time Required 45 mins
Website spot/daimyou buke.html
Location Annaka, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 19' 45.80" N, 138° 53' 47.58" E
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Added to Jcastle 2018
Admin Year Visited 2018
Admin Visits March 11, 2018
(3 votes)
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13 months ago
Score 0++
When I saw a journey described by Eric, here on, I thought I could try to do this, since the sites are related to the history of Takeda Shingen, my favourite daimyô. I so began my journey at Annaka. I first walked from the station to the old Usui county hall. When I arrived there it was still closed, but the guide, who was inside, saw me and let me in. I had a nice chat with him, since he had a good level of English. In this building is a model of Annaka castle. Of the castle there is nothing left. Only a marker stone, on the grounds of a school, reminds us of the existence of the castle there. After that I walked to the bukeyashiki and nagaya. These are the real reason why I went to Annaka. The bukeyashiki, samurai house is nicely entertained, there is a fee of 210¥, and the guide will show you around. He was called by the guide of the Usui county hall, who told him that I was coming. After that I saw the nagaya, which is a rowhouse for lesser warriors, aka ashigaru. This is in a perfect state of conservation.


65 months ago
Score 0++
Have you heard of "Samurai Marathon"? Or, the 安政遠足. In 1855, the Lord of Annaka had 96 of his retainers do a 30km run starting at the castle. So they hold an event like that annually apparently and last year there was a film loosely based on it.


65 months ago
Score 0++
Wow, never heard of it. The course looks interesting. If I were a runner I would definitely do it. Maybe you should try it! I'll come cheer you on and then visit some castles nearby :)