Muramatsu Castle


Muramatsujou (27).JPG


In 1639 Hori Naotoki established Yasuda Domain at Yasuda Castle following the death of his father, Hori Naoyori. However, his son, Hori Naoyoshi, moved the seat of the domain to Muramatsu, founding Muramatsu Castle in 1644. The domain only had an assessed value of 30,000 koku, and the castle was ostensibly constructed as Muramatsu-jin’ya. The earning potential of the domain was more in the order of 40,000 koku, and Muramatsu’s early lords spent their time surveying land and trying to grow more rice in the valley – or that’s what they had the peasants do under the supervision of their vassals. In 1814 Hori Naoyasu attempted ‘fiscal reform’, which really just meant ‘tax the peasants more’, leading to a peasant revolt. Hori Naohide, who reigned into the Bakumatsu period, did a much better job of improving domain finances by developing paper, tea and ceramics industries.

During the Boshin War, factions emerged within the domain. The conservatives wanted to join the loyalists in preserving the Tokugawa Shogunate, whilst the revolutionaries wanted to join the imperialists in restoring the power of the emperor. These two groups came to violent blows. Hori Naoyoshi II sided with the Tokugawa loyalists; he set fire to Muramatsujō and the surrounding town, abandoning the castle before fleeing to Yonezawajō. He surrendered to the imperialists a couple of months later.

Visit Notes

Muramatsujō is a hirajiro (flatland castle) ruin in Muramatsu Township, Gosen Municipality. It is an Edo period earthworks castle site with such features as karabori (dry moats), dorui (earthen ramparts) and a masugata (square layout) gate complex. The site is well-maintained as a nice park. Cicadas were everywhere in the park, transforming it into the ‘Last Chance Bar & Grill’ for cicadas as their dying cries rang out and they began to drop from the trees. Some of them were clearly loathe to fly away from me; if it were earlier in the season they’d be energetically flying into me in headlong collision. I’m glad to see the back of the dastardly beasties.

There is a railway carriage in the park. I thought this was odd since there is no railway to Muramatsu, but apparently the Kanbara Railway ran through the town going from Gosen downtown to Kamo through the mountain passes. Established in 1923, the line was abolished in 1999 and replaced with a bus service. There is also a museum, the Gosen Municipal Muramatsu Folk Museum, but it was closed when I visited the site. There is a 1:100 scale model of the castle in the museum which was made based on a series of maps and floorplans from the Edo period which were re-discovered.

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  • Dobashi-Dorui
  • Dorui
  • Gate site

Castle Profile
English Name Muramatsu Castle
Japanese Name 村松城
Founder Hori Naoyoshi
Year Founded 1644
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Karabori, Masugata, &c.
Visitor Information
Access Nearest station is Gosen Station on the Ban’etsu West Line
Visitor Information Open 24/7; free (park)
Time Required 50 minutes
Location Gosen, Niigata Prefecture
Coordinates 37° 41' 36.02" N, 139° 10' 12.43" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Shiro Meguri
Jōkaku Hōrōki

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