Maruoka Castle

From Jcastle.info

Maruoka1.jpg

History

Maruoka-jo was Built by Shibata Katsutoyo, nephew of Shibata Katsuie, in 1576. The castle had 17 lords until the Meiji Restoration including Aoyama Shurinsuke, Honda Narishige, and Arima Kiyosumi. The keep was levelled by the Fukui earthquake of 1948, but the keep was rebuilt using 80% of the original materials in 1955. The keep has three stories with an original wood interior and stone-tile roof, and is located on a hill in the middle of a rather large plain. Both the size of the keep and interior are very similar to that of Inuyama castle.


Visit Notes

At the bottom of the hill there is a small history museum with displays related to the lords of Maruoka castle (admission included in castle ticket). Like both Inuyama and Matsumoto, Maruoka claims to have the oldest remaining keep in Japan. It is designated Important Cultural Property.




Gallery
  • Maruoka Castle interior stairs
  • Maruoka Castle main keep
  • maruoka castle main keep
  • Maruoka Castle interior
  • second floor interior
  • stone walls


Castle Profile
English Name Maruoka Castle
Japanese Name 丸岡城
Alternate Names Kasumiga-jo
Founder Shibata Katsutoyo
Year Founded 1576
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Original main keep
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 2 levels, 3 floors
Artifacts main keep
Features main keep, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Awara-onsen Sta. (Hokuriku Line), Keifuku bus to Hon-maruoka and get off at Shiro-iriguchi (20mins, buses hourly). Hourly buses (Keifuku) also run from Fukui station
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.city.fukui-sakai.lg.jp/static/00000027/002/00000099.html
Location Sakai, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 9' 8.50" N, 136° 16' 19.60" E
Loading map...
Admin
Added to Jcastle 2006
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2006
Admin Visits June 13, 2006


4.13
(24 votes)
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Matthew WardGunshi

10 months ago
Score 0++

When I visited Maruoka Castle several years ago, we took the bus from near Fukui Station, and it took us right to the castle. You do have to check the bus times though, as they don't run so frequently. I imagine that bus service might also have been reduced due to the pandemic, though if that's the case hopefully they will increase it again.

Anyway, the main keep is lovely and feels very authentic inside--one of my favorite main keep interiors. That was my favorite aspect of the castle. I did notice the very steep stairs, as I was traveling my kids and I had to watch them on the stairs!

The only downside of this castle is that there is really very little remaining of it, besides the main keep, and some of the ishigaki lining the little hill it stands on. Of course, the original castle site was much larger, and it would be nice if they restored more of the castle grounds. That's why I give it only a 4. But it's still an essential visit for castle fans.

By the way, I read recently that the city did an analysis of the age of the materials of the main keep, and the results indicated that it is not in fact the oldest main keep. However, they did confirm that most of the main keep is comprised of materials from the early 1600's, so it seems that they did a good job of keeping the original material after the earthquake knocked it down.
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ARTShogun

10 months ago
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Thank you for joining us on FB, Mr Ward! Since you're interested in the oldest keep - a much debated topic - i'll tag you in the comments of an article i wrote on the topic. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
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RaymondWDaimyo

10 months ago
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I did the same thing you did on my first visit to Maruoka Castle 15 years ago. I had mistakenly assumed JR Maruoka Station was the only way to get to Maruoka Station. It wasn’t much fun walking the four kilometres or so to get to castle in the blazing hot sun of mid-summer with zero shade. On my second visit five years later, I took the bus from and back to Fukui Station. It takes 50 minutes to an hour depending on which bus you take.
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Anonymous user #1

10 months ago
Score 0 You
12/05/2023. Arriving from Fukui station at Maruoka station, I realised I had to wait 1 hour for a bus. It's about 4km to the castle, and in 2010, I walked to it. I was a little tired and was wondering if I was going to walk. A woman, next to the station, asked me if I was going to the castle. She proposed to drive me there in her car. She is a volunteer guide at the castle and spoke very well English. I could not refuse such an offer, which made me win some precious time. I wanted to offer something, but she was just glad she could help. In 2010 I visited Maruoka castle, not knowing much about it. This time I made a thorough tour of it. From there I decided to return to Fukui with a taxi. The ride cost 5000¥.
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FurinkazanDaimyo

10 months ago
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this is my new comment
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JthaasPeasant

92 months ago
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It is also possible to take a taxi from JR Maruoka. As you exit the station, there's a small phone booth across the road with a free taxi phone. The helpful people in the shop at the castle will phone for a taxi for the return trip.
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Kiddus i2003Gunshi

120 months ago
Score 0++
Thought I'd miss this castle , but stumbled on it by accident , well worth the visit.
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BryanbaierPeasant

148 months ago
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Small but don't forget it is the oldest in Japan and 80% of it is original.
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Anonymous user #1

153 months ago
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Visited 22nd August 2011. Excellent! Small, but original and very well maintained (even the museum is worthy of a few minutes) - overall, well worth the trip from Fukui. Note: If arriving by JR Marouka, simply take the bus to Maruoka Bus Station (there is also a bus direct from Fukui). From there it's a 10 minute walk.
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RonSAshigaru

154 months ago
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Definitely worth a visit. Compare it with later constructions like Hikone and Himeji and you can see how the design of castle keeps evolved. The interior stairways are the steepest I've ever encountered in the over 50 J castles I've visited; nearly vertical with a rope added for assistance!
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FurinkazanDaimyo

164 months ago
Score 0++
Today i went to this castle. Because of the beautiful weather i decided to walk from Maruoka-station(=+/4.5km). This is a neat castle to visit because it's Japan's oldest authentic keep. There is nothing displayed in the tenshu, but the structure alone is worth the visit. With the ticket for the castle you have access to the little museum beneath the keep. There are some realy interesting artifacts on display, like a piece of an uma-yoroi (=horse-armor).