It is said that Mizusawa Castle was established by the Sasagi Clan who came up from the capital and became the vassals of the Kasai Clan in 1408. The Sasagi were vassals of the Kasai in the Sengoku Period, along with such clans as the Onodera and kashiyama. Even though the Sasagi were a brave clan involved in many conflicts, the Kasai refused to aid Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Siege of Odawara and so they were deposed in 1590 and the Sasagi went with them. In 1629, Date Munetoshi took over Mizusawajō, having had his territory of 20,000 koku halved and being forced to relocate from nearby Kanegasakijō. Despite this demotion the Mizusawa Fief was later increased from 10,000 koku to 16,000 koku in value and his son took over Kanegasakijō. Munetoshi's descendents ruled until the Meiji Restoration and the abolition of the Han System. From 1841 Mizusawajō hosted a Hankō (Domain School). These schools would later help pave the way for the modernised Japanese education system and in 1869 Mizusawajō was demolished to build a school by the government of what was then Isawa Prefecture. Isawa Prefecture was merged into Ichinoseki Prefecture in 1871, later renamed Iwai Prefecture, which itself was merged into Iwate Prefecture in 1875. When the Han System was first abolished they basically turned all of the domains into prefectures so that there were hundreds of them. Over the next decade these small prefectures were merged into the 45 prefectures we know today (with Hokkaidō and Okinawa later being annexed). Anyway, at some point the site of Mizusawajō became a town hall.
Mizusawa Castle is now the site of Mizusawa Town Hall and the only clue remaining that a fort once stood here is the reconstructed kabukimon style gate. However, Mizusawa also has a handful of preserved samurai homes, two of which retain their exterior appearance and are open to the public, and so that's why I visited. Mizusawajō consisted of four baileys surrounded by embankments: the first, second, and third baileys plus a smaller bailey (it was either called the south or west bailey but they wouldn't have called it the fourth bailey, four being an unlucky number due to its "on" pronounciation being homophonous with death), which each contained residential buildings rather than any large turrets.
|English Name||Mizusawa Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Features||gates, samurai homes|
|Access||Mizusawa Station on the Tohoku Main Line; 10 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||Free, 24/7|
|Time Required||10 minutes|
|Location||Mizusawa, Iwate Prefecture|
|Coordinates||39° 8' 38.87" N, 141° 8' 21.66" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2018|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
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