Hanamaki Castle

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Hanamakijō was constructed in 1591 by Kita Hidechika, in the service of Nanbu Nobunao, on the site of the earlier Toyogasakijō. The fief was worth about 8,000 koku at this time. In 1598 Hidechika died and his son, Kita Nobuchika, became lord of the castle. In 1600 Hanamakijō was attacked by Wada Tadachika. Wada was able to capture the outer baileys but, despite receiving reinforcements, was ultimately defeated by Kita Nobuchika when trying to capture the castle's main bailey. In the Edo Period the Nanbu continued to control the castle. In 1613 Nanbu Toshinao gave his son, Nanbu Masanao, control of Hanamakijō with a fiefdom amounting to 20,000 koku. Masanao revamped the castle, building multiple two-tier yagura (turrets) and gates in the honmaru. Despite the Shogunate's edict limiting each lord to a single castle there were exceptions to this and the Nanbu were able to maintain Hanamakijō as a branch castle (usually "shijō 支城" in Japanese but referred to as "kakaeshiro 抱え城" in the context of the edict). Hanamakijō was abandoned in 1869 following the Meiji Restoration and the abolition of the feudal system.

Visit Notes

Hanamaki Castle is a great site up in rural Iwate. There are baileys, mizubori (water moats), ishigaki (piled stone walls), earthworks, original and reconstructed gates. The original gate along with substantial ishigaki can be found at the site of Toyagasaki Shrine. A bell tower originally from Morioka Castle can be found in town. The west gate of the honmaru (main bailey) has been reconstructed. In the sub-bailey before the honmaru used to stand a nagaya (row house), probably to house guards. The tenshudai (platform for main keep) is to the south of the reconstructed gate, although whether a tower was built in the Sengoku Period is unknown, although a turret was erected in the Edo Period. Dorui (earthen embankments) surround the honmaru. The bailey south of the honmaru now contains a butokuden (martial arts hall), and we saw kids practicing archery here.

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  • Reconstructed West Gate to Honmaru
  • ishigaki
  • original gate 1614

Castle Profile
English Name Hanamaki Castle
Japanese Name 花巻城
Alternate Names 鳥谷崎城
Founder Kita Hidechika
Year Founded 1591
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Mizubori, Horikiri, Kuruwa, Mon, Ishigaki, Dorui, Tenshudai
Features gates, water moats, trenches, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Hanamaki Station on the Tohoku Main Line; walk 10 minutes
Visitor Information Free, 24/7
Time Required 1 hr 30 mins
Location Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture
Coordinates 39° 23' 30.08" N, 141° 7' 12.97" E
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Added to Jcastle 2018
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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