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Mizuki (2).JPG


The Mizuki is a 1.2km long, 80m wide, 9m tall embankment and double moat system running across the plain between Dazaifu, once the capital of Kyūshū, and the Hakata Bay area. Constructed in 664, the Mizuki links up Ônojō with mountains opposite - close to where there was a small mountain fort called 'Little Mizuki'. In ancient times this effectively walled-off the flatland approach to Dazaifu. The Mizuki consisted of an inner moat; a wide, gently climbing lower embankment; a tall, steep upper embankment; a berm beyond that; and, finally, the outer moat. Nowadays it is chiefly the upper embankment which is prominent, and the moats are now rice paddies, but the general form remains evident. The part we came to was connected up with a flattened hilltop which in turn climbed on up toward the Citadel Mount of Ônojō. It seems like it might be possible to walk this climbing wall all the way to Ônojō. There was a gate, Higashimon, located here and its foundation stones can still be seen.

Visit Notes

Mizuki is a large defensive structure that cuts across a plain between hills, forming the border between the municipalities of Dazaifu and Ônojō. The long fortification is made up of a wall of piled earth. The earth excavated to form the embankment left a trench which was filled with water, giving the site its name. The Mizuki is essentially a long wall which protected Dazaifu, the ancient capital of Kyūshū, along with other surrounding fortifications.

'Mizuki' means 'Water Wall' or 'Water Fortress', the name deriving from the moats which form the structure of Mizuki. 'Ki' is the old reading for 'Castle'. The defensive network around Dazaifu is actually made up of at least seven distinct sites, including Dazaifu itself with its fortified palace and government center. A smaller embankment-wall can be found to the south, Sekiya Dorui (Checkpoint Embankment). Other than Shomizuki, Mizuki, Ōnojō, and the Sekiya Dorui, there were the mountain fortresses of Kiijō and Ashikisanjō. One day I hope to be able to make a full inspection of all of these sites.

A small museum has been built into the embankment at the northern portion of the Mizuki beneath the hill. Why it was built into the earthwork like a bunker I don't know, but I don't approve. The great embankment has further sustained damage in places where modern roads and rail have ploughed through it. However, looking at satellite imagery, a long line of green can still be seen, though perforated in places, bisecting the plain. What was formerly mountainous terrain on the west side of the plain has been flattened / terraced and developed over.


Castle Profile
English Name Mizuki
Japanese Name 水城
Founder The Yamato
Year Founded 664
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Karabori
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Shimo-Ori Station on the Tenjin-Omuta Line; 10 minute walk
Visitor Information Museum open 9am-4:30pm, except Mon.
Time Required 60 mins
Location Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 31' 19.60" N, 130° 29' 55.82" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(2 votes)
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53 months ago
Score 1++
one day i'd love to follow this beast through its entire length and up to Ohnojou


53 months ago
Score 0++
Me too !