Obama Castle

From Jcastle.info


Kyogoku Takatsugu, who had held Otsu Castle for Tokugawa Ieyasu against the besieging forces of the Western Alliance in the run up to the Battle of Sekigahara, was awarded the Wakasa Domain (western part of Fukui Prefecture). He first moved into Nochiseyama Castle, a mountaintop castle overlooking present day Obama City. In 1601, Takatsugu decided to relocate from Nochiseyama and started constructing Obama Castle at a river delta on Obama Bay. In 1634, Kyogoku Tadataka, who had succeeded Takatsugu in 1609, was transferred to Izumo (Shimane Prefecture) and replaced by Sakai Tadakatsu from Kawagoe (Saitama Prefecture).

Sakai Tadakatsu finished constructing the castle in 1641. It had a three-tier three-storey castle keep, which was modelled on Edo Castle’s Fujimi Yagura. The main bailey was almost completely surrounded by a water moat. On the other side of this moat was a concentric layer of baileys which were in turn completely surrounded by water. In effect, Obama Castle was an island fortress in the middle of a river delta. For fourteen generations or 237 years, the Sakai Clan ruled Obama. A fire broke out in 1871 and most of the castle burnt down. A few years later in 1875, the castle was decommissioned and Obama Shrine built on the site of the honmaru (main bailey.) In 1956, it was designated a prefectural historic site.

Visit Notes

This castle ruin is about a 20 minute walk from Obama Station. Just go straight up Route 162 from the station. Only the main bailey and its stone walls are left. The rest of the castle has been subsumed by the modern day Obama City.

Profile and photos by JCastle user RaymondW

  • Main keep foundation and stone walls, west side
  • Steps up the honmaru stones walls, west side
  • Honmaru stone walls, north side.
  • Honmaru stone walls west side
  • Looking towards Obama Castle across the Minami River
  • Honmaru stone walls south side
  • Looking out toward Obama Bay
  • Looking toward Nosechiyama Castle Ruin
  • Inside the honmaru

Castle Profile
English Name Obama Castle
Japanese Name 小浜城
Alternate Names Unpin Castle (雲浜城)
Founder Kyogoku Takatsugu
Year Founded 1601
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Obama Sta. (Obama Line), 20 min walk
Visitor Information The park is open any time
Time Required 20 minutes
Website http://info.pref.fukui.jp/bunka/bunkazai/sitei/siseki/obamajinja-obamajo.html
Location Obama, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 30' 14.04" N, 135° 44' 45.53" E
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Added to Jcastle 2014
Contributor RaymondW
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Shiro Meguri

(3 votes)
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15 months ago
Score 1++

‘Obama’ is pronounced in Japanese as ‘O-ba-ma’ and not ‘oh-BAH-muh’. I wondered if I would find any references to a certain US president in the town, since I remembered the town being in the news when the 44th president was inaugurated, but I didn’t (although I did once find a gigantic sand sculpture of Trump besides crying Amerindians in Tottori).

There was much more to see of Obamajō than I expected. The ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) here fully ensconce the main bailey, now the site of Obama Shrine (小濱神社), and I had not anticipated so much remaining. The ishigaki is beautiful, and the tenshudai (platform for main keep), which one supported a three-tier donjon, is imposing, and I could see it from Aoiyama across the bay. Visitors can ascend onto the tenshudai but other ramparts, some of which are showing their age, cannot be accessed. I went all of the way around the ramparts within, and then from without, before ascending the tenshudai.

In its day, Obamajō was surrounded by mizubori (moats), fed from the Tada and Minami rivers which it sat between. The main bailey was surrounded by multiple other baileys which formed a ring around it. The rivers acted as outer moats around these outer baileys. Now the outer baileys have been developed over with housing, but the honmaru is mostly in tact – minus the superstructures and palace, of course. The only chunk of missing ishigaki is where the shrine’s entrance is; was this also the castle’s original entrance? There is also a very narrow rear entrance. Between the moat around the main bailey and the ramparts there seems to have been a lip of land known as an inubashiri (‘dog’s run’)

RaymondW mentions below that there was a fundraiser for rebuilding the main keep? I wonder what happened to that money… maybe it should be used to repair some of the stone walls here which have seen better days.


125 months ago
Score 0++
Obama City is raising money to rebuild the castle keep. See the following website (in Japanese only) http://www.c...castle0.html for more details. It looks like if they can raise the funds, reconstruction of the castle keep will start in 2015.