Kanou Castle

From Jcastle.info



The original Kanou Castle started as an extension of the Kawate Castle commanded by the Toki clan, the lords of the Mino region. After the Toki lost to Saito Dosan and Saito built Gifu Castle, Kanou Castle was abandoned. On his way back to Edo after the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu stopped in Gifu and ordered Honda Tadakatsu to build a castle here. The Honmaru of modern Kanou Castle encompasses the older Kanou Castle with the Ninomaru and Sannomaru baileys built out from here. Tokugawa designed the layout himself. Much of the materials came from the recently abandoned Gifu Castle including the main keep which was rebuilt in the Ninomaru bailey as a three story yagura. It burned down in 1728 and was not rebuilt. A foundation for a main keep was built in the Honmaru bailey, but the main keep itself was never built. The first lord of Kanou Castle was Okudaira Nobumasa, the husband of one of Tokugawa's daughters.

Visit Notes

Photos donated by RaymondW


Castle Profile
English Name Kanou Castle
Japanese Name 加納城
Founder Okudaira Nobumasa
Year Founded 1601
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Gifu Sta (JR Tokaido line), bus, 15 min walk; Kanou Sta (Meitetsu line) 15 min walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Location Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 23' 58.60" N, 136° 45' 37.22" E
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Added to Jcastle 2011
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Admin Visits Viewer Donated

(4 votes)
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59 months ago
Score 0++

I arrived very early in Gifu and had time to spare before Gifujō opened, so I first walked to Kanōjō, just outside the town center. This history of Kanōjō is tied to that of Gifujō… A castle was originally built at this site by the Toki clan, as a satellite castle of their Kawatejō. Saitō Dōsan defeated the Toki who had ruled Mino. His ruthless tactics earned him the moniker “The Viper of Mino (Mino no Mamushi)”. He then built Inabayamajō (now called Gifujō). And this replaced Kanōjō. However, Kanōjō would replace Gifujō after the Battle of Sekigahara. Tokugawa Ieyasu designed this new Kanōjō with three baileys and ordered Honda Tadakatsu to oversee its construction. The tenshu of Gifujō was moved and became a three-tier yagura at Kanōjō. This was lost to fire in 1728 and not rebuilt. A Tenshudai was erected at Kanōjō but no donjon was ever built upon it. The first lord of Kanōjō was Okudaira Nobumasa who married one of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s daughters.

Of Kanōjō today only ruins remain. Even though the Ishigaki look like they may tumble down at any moment, in fact they were well constructed and remain sturdy. There were a few openings in the walls. Maybe they were used as storage spaces, I can’t be sure. They’ve been bricked over anyway. As to why Tokugawa moved the castle from Gifujō up on the natural fort that is Kinkazan (Mount Kinka), commanding a god-like view of all around, to the flatland site of Kanōjō, my guess would be that he was confident that Mino would be peaceful and he would not have to make use of Gifujō himself, and so that it would be to his advantage to have Mino’s new lords put their resources into building a flatland castle. Having lords use resources on maintaining castles in peacetime as well as journeying to and spending time in Edo was a key policy of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the maintenance of peace.


125 months ago
Score 0++
There isn't very much here to see apart from some stone walls. If you are in Gifu City and have some time to kill, this castle ruin might be worth a visit. It is only around 15 minutes on foot from JR Gifu Station. I visited Kanou Castle Ruin last month as part of a three-castles-in-one-day trip. It was the final castle after Ogaki Castle and Inuyama Castle. A one star rating is about right for this site. I reckon only ishigaki (stone wall) fans will enjoy this castle ruin.