Karatsu Castle

From Jcastle.info


Terasawa Hirotaka, a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was stationed in Karatsu in 1595. In the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 he joined the Tokugawa forces and and attacked Gifu Castle. He was rewarded with greater lands around Karatsu and built the castle from 1602 - 1608. The castle made use of some parts from Hideyoshi's Nagoya Castle which was dismantled after his fall.

The rein of the Terasawa clan ended after Hirotaka's son Katataka committed suicide in 1647 leaving no heirs. The castle was ruled by five other families until it was dismantled in the Meiji Period. Even though a mock main keep stands on the site today, some say a main keep was never actually built. Theyb only built the foundation for one.

Visit Notes

not personally visited. Pictures donated by Raffi.

  • main keep
  • Main keep
  • Main keep atop the hill
  • map

Castle Profile
English Name Karatsu Castle
Japanese Name 唐津城
Alternate Names Maizuru-jo
Founder Terasawa Hirotaka
Year Founded 1608
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Next 100 Castles
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 5 levels, 5 stories
Year Reconstructed 1966 (concrete)
Features main keep, stone walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Karatsu Sta. (Chikuhi Line, Karatsu Line); 20 minute walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.city.karatsu.lg.jp/kouhou/kankou/k1/f402/0305.html
Location Karatsu, Saga Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 27' 12.74" N, 129° 58' 41.48" E
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Added to Jcastle 2006
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(15 votes)
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80 months ago
Score 0++
I went here because of an anime that takes place in this town. It was kind of hard to get to from Saga, but the castle and the city are very beautiful and the view of the ocean is amazing from the castle.


135 months ago
Score 0++
Hope you are enjoying your Kyushu tour, Furinkazan. I had a great time there last year when I toured just the northern part of Kyushu. About a year ago, they had individually labelled the tenshudai stones in a grid pattern. On the day that I went to Karatsu Castle, I just managed to get in Hizen-Nagoya Castle Ruin as well. Karatsu Castle is a beautiful looking castle from a distance, perched on top of a hill on a peninsular at the entrance to the harbour.


136 months ago
Score 0++
This castle merits it's 3.5 stars. Like RaymondW mentionned earlier there are works goning on. Actually they have removed some part of the ishigaki of the tenshudai. I asked a friendly english speaking staffmember when the works will end. They don't know, because during the repairs they have found some original walls. Some parts of the works are halted for studying the discoveries.


149 months ago
Score 0++
This castle with a reconstructed five-storey keep can easily be done in a day trip from either Fukuoka City or Saga City. For a reconstructed castle keep, the builders have made an effort to disguise the concrete interior by adding wooden panels to the walls and supporting columns. The museum inside has a nice model of what the castle keep looked like. It also splits in half to show the interior. There are also a few suits of samurai armour and their weaponry in the museum. This castle site is photogenic on a sunny day as it is built on a peninsular overlooking the protected harbour. There aren’t many other structures remaining apart from the castle keep, two yaguramons (turreted gate), and a few reconstructed yaguras (turrets). The reconstructed Kita Yaguramon at the north end of the Honmaru (Main Bailey) houses the souvenir shop. One of the outer turrets has been rebuilt and can be found in the city not far from the bus centre. It is the Tatsumi Yagura in the former Sanomaru (Third Bailey). Only a little corner of the Sanomaru is left. Parts of the Sanomaru ishigaki and the water moat, which separated the Sanomaru from the original castle town, can also be found in front of the Karatsu City Hall. Some of the structures of original Karatsu Castle completed were built with materials taken from the demolished Hizen Nagoya Castle. Right now, Karatsu Castle is undergoing some restoration with parts of the Honmaru walls being repaired and half of the bailey (Ninokuruwa) below the Honmaru is closed to the public. The restoration work around the castle started in 2008 and is ongoing with no date mentioned for its anticipated completion (as far as I could make out from the Japanese signs.) This is a solid three-star castle site with a great view of the ocean and surrounding coastline.

Frank T.Gunshi

154 months ago
Score 0++
This is a great little castle, mainly due to the view from the top and the view of the castle as you approach. By all means get a photo from the causeway similar to one posted here.


155 months ago
Score 0++

G'day Regan53,

Do you know when the building works will be over? There is a chance that I might go to the northern part of Kyushu later this year to visit a few castles.



Anonymous user #1

155 months ago
Score 0++
Visited 29th August 2011. Was surprised by how good this was. Yes, it's a concrete rebuild, but they're proud of their past here, and it shows. At present there are major building works underway, so the castle entrance fee is being waved. But overall, still worth visiting, and Karatsu is a nice place too.