Sonobe Castle

From Jcastle.info

Sonobe1.jpg

History

Sonobejō has the distinction of being the last ever castle built in Japan! It was built in 1868, the same year as the Meiji Restoration, and thus, the year the Edo Shogunate ended. In the Bakamatsu Period (end of the Edo Period), the situation in Kyōto become very dangerous, with Shinsengumi (Shogunal police corps) engaging in street fights with anti-Shogunate revolutionaries. There were several skirmishes around the Imperial palace in Kyōto between Satsuma and Chōshū, at that time rival clans fighting for the influence over the Imperial Court. Chōshū advocated for continuing the Shogunate albeit with more influence from the throne, whereas Satsuma wanted to overthrow the Bakufu completely, re-installing the Emperor as sole sovereign of Japan. These forces, and the forces of the Shogunate, and various other revolutionaries, all fought over the Imperial Capital, making it a very dangerous place to be. Sonobejō was built as a place of refuge for the Emperor should he ever have to flee Kyōto. It was founded by the Koide Clan who had served as the Emperor's guards throughout the Edo Period.


Visit Notes

Sonobejō has three original structures intact, dating to the very end of the Edo Period. They are a gatehouse, guardhouse and turret on site. The Taiko Turret also survives, but has been relocated to the Anraku Temple. A modern "cultural hall" has been built nearby the castle. It is a castle-inspired structure but has a glass atrium built into the mock ramparts, so I think it's pretty absurd. Profile by ART, most photos by RonS.


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Gallery
  • Tatsumi Yagura and Yaguramon
  • Yaguramon Gate
  • Tatsumi Yagura and Yaguramon
  • Tatsumi Yagura, Guardhouse, and Yaguramon Gate
  • Yaguramon Gate and Guardhouse
  • Tatsumi Yagura, Guardhouse, and Yaguramon Gate
  • Tatsumi Yagura
  • Tatsumi Yagura
  • Tatsumi Yagura and Yaguran Gate
  • Tatsumi Yagura and Yaguran Gate
  • Wall with loophole
  • Taiko Yagura
  • Taiko Yagura
  • Taiko Yagura
  • Site of the main Three Level Yagura
  • Map
  • Castle Inspired Structure on the Castle Grounds
  • This nearby school has been Mogified!
  • A marker for "Sonobe Castle" on google actually points here!
  • Jarring conconction of glass and fake ishigaki


Castle Profile
English Name Sonobe Castle
Japanese Name 園部城
Founder Koide Yoshichika
Year Founded 1868
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features gates, turrets, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Sonobe Station on the San'in Main Line; 15 minute walk
Visitor Information Free
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Nantan, Kyoto
Coordinates 35° 6' 16.81" N, 135° 28' 12.50" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2018
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed


3.00
(3 votes)
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Matthew WardGunshi

9 months ago
Score 0++

I enjoyed visiting Sonobe Castle the other day. I first went to the original buildings pictured above, and spent a while walking around, inspecting them and photographing them. I think that school may have been in session, but no-one seemed to mind my walking around. Perhaps they are used to odd castle buffs showing up!

Anyway, I think that the complex of the turret gate, guardhouse, turret, ishigaki and plaster walls is a neat little relic of the castle, and well-worth visiting for castle fans. Interesting to think that they are the newest remaining castle buildings in Japan.

I did also walk over to the mogi visitor's center, but it was closed and under scaffolding. No disappointment there. I spent some time walking around it, looking for ishigaki, but there wasn't much, and not sure if what I saw was original. There is a bridge going over some kind of 'moat' to the visitor's center, though the moat looks more like a swimming pool or something to me. The walls are lined with what looks like ishigaki, but not sure if they are original or not. I couldn't get up close to them, at any rate. I do think that it's an utter travesty that apparently the surviving ishigaki and moat of that area were apparently dismantled, at least in part, to build the visitor's center. Destroying real relics to make fake ones is not a good preservation ethic.

In the surrounding park, they did have some big stones here and there, and those looked like they are likely from the past ishigaki.

I also took the train to Yagi and checked out Anraku Temple, with the drum turret from Sonobe Castle. It's quite a walk to get to the temple, but Yagi is a neat little town, and the temple and turret are very attractive.

Overall, I'd give the castle a low 3 for the nice little complex of original buildings. Not something I'd recommend to casual fans, but definitely worthwhile for castle buffs.
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ARTShogun

9 months ago
Score 0++
Well done for also making it to the relocated yagura! You get to add Yagi Castle to your castle-visit list as a bonus : )
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ARTShogun

9 months ago
Score 0++
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Anonymous user #1

9 months ago
Score 0 You

Yeah, I did!

I think I'm up to 48 separate castles visited... not too many compared to a lot of the contributors on this page. I tend to visit the same castles repeatedly, but I need to try adding some new ones.

Too bad that Yaga Castle has nothing left of it, but it's nice that it does have a castle turret, albeit unrelated, on the site.
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RonSAshigaru

76 months ago
Score 2++
The Taiko Yagura (Drum Turret) is now on the grounds of Anraku-ji (安楽寺) which is in the neighboring town of Yagi.