The Kuroda family ruled for 12 generations and over 270 years. In 1871, the castle was decommissioned and most of the buildings were disassembled or moved.
The above picture is of the extant Minami Tamon Yagura, an Important Cutural Property, donated by KyushuDan of Japanese Castle Explorer.
Update by ART (Jan 2024; visited 2019):
Fukuoka Castle is a major Edo period hirayamajiro (hilltop-flatland) castle site in Kyūshū; in fact it was the greatest castle in that region in its day. Ruins include mizubori (water moats), including the Ôhori lake; (lots of) ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts), including the tenshudai (donjon platform); dorui (earthen embankments); and both extant and reconstructed castle structures.
The Kinen-yagura (Prayer Turret), so-called because its positioning in the northeast guarded the kimon (demon gate), a spiritual dimension through which ill things could pass unless properly warded off, was inexplicably MISSING when I visited. Restorative work is being carried out on the ramparts below it so for the duration of that time the yagura has gone into storage. I wish to re-visit Fukuokajō after it comes back.
I was thoroughly impressed with Fukuokajō and enjoyed epxloring it. I could've spent much longer there and hopefully will next time; the whole Ôhori area I left aside. My general impression is that Fukuokajō is regarded more slightly than it perhaps warrants, although this might be said for all Kyūshū sites except beloved Kumamotojō. I did see the same problems at multiple sites in Kyūshū though... lacklustre reconstructions, concrete where it shouldn't be, &c. I would recommend Fukuokajō to any and all castle fans, apart from those very discerning types who absolutely must have a gigantic tower to look at (I tease!).
The Mystery of the Tenshudai:
The mystery concerning Fukuokajō's tenshudai is whether it actually had a tenshu (donjon) built upon it. There is a very speculative theory that the castle tower was cruciform shaped, and that it was destroyed, along with documentation on it, during the anti-Christian purges in the early 17th century. Roof tiles have been unearthed around the tenshu but this does not prove that the building built upon the tenshudai was actually the main keep. A map of the castle in 1646 does not show a main keep structure. There are theories that a tenshu was initially built but demolished for one reason or another.
The site of Fukuokajō was formerly the site of the Kōrokan, a guest house for foreign dignitaries throughout the 7th to 11th centuries (Asuka period through to Heian period). There is an exhibition hall built in a sort of mock classical style but it is by no means a reconstruction. The site was excavated in the late 1990s. Two other 'guest houses' like Kōrokan existed elsewhere in Japan but their locations are not known for sure, making the Kōrokan find one of great significance. The architecture conformed to that of administrative institutions of ancient and classical Japan (for example, palaces and jōsaku). Kōrokan was also known as Tsukushi no Murotsumi (some yamato-kotoba for you).
Fukuoka-based history blogger Rekishi-Nihon has written up a great description based on resources available at his local castle... please see friends of JCastle section to the right or below.
|No main keep but other buildings
|Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, National Historic Site
|Minami Maru Tamon Yagura
|Hakata Sta. (Kagoshima Line)
|Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
|33° 35' 3.80" N, 130° 22' 59.20" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited
|Friends of JCastle
|Japanese Castle Explorer