Sumoto Castle

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Sumoto62.jpg

History

A castle was first founded on this site by Atagi Haruoki in 1526. When the Awaji area was conquered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, he assigned Sengoku Hidehisa as lord of the castle. In 1585, Wakisaka Yasuhara was reassigned from Takatori Castle to Sumoto Castle. Wakisaka renovated much of the castle during his 24 year reign. In 1615, Awaji came under the control of the Tokushima domain and Hachisuka Yoshishige became the new lord. The castle lordship was passed to Inada Shigetane, a retainer of the Hachisuka in 1631. The Inada continued to rule until the Meiji Restoration.


Visit Notes

This was probably my (admin) most exciting and expectation exceeding castle visit of 2023. The weather was perfect, the views incredible and the stonework was truly amazing. I had largely written off Sumoto Castle because of the silly little fake keep or lookout tower at the top of the mountain but it has stone walls to rival Marugame Castle, Iyo Matsuyama Castle or Hikone Castle.

The castle is mainly comprised of the several large baileys around the top of the mountain with the smaller "lower castle" at the base of the mountain for administrative purposes. From roughly both sides of this lower castle are two fantastic climbing stone walls. Some of the stonework is easily visible from the trails but there is so much more than can be discovered by a few explorations into the woods. For this visit some trails were even closed off for repairs, but at least according to signs at the time, they should be reopened in the Spring of 2024.

The castle and stonework we see today dates to when it was rebuilt by the Hachisuka in the 1630's. Some of key features of the castle mount are two particularly huge baileys. The "Mushadamari" is an unusually large bailey just to the east of the main bailey. It has the best views of the East Climbing Stone and amazing views of the sea. As the Japanese name implies it may have been barracks for troops or an evacuation area for the townspeople. Likewise, the Nishinomaru (west bailey) is another huge bailey that is a bit farther out along with ridge from the honmaru and functioned as a dejiro or extended fortification from the main castle. Some of the stone was quarried around here and 1 large stone with wedge holes can also be found along the trail. This bailey has stone walls on 2 sides and even a small section of unejo tatebori (parallel vertical trenches) buried in the woods.

In the town you can also find some original structures from the castle:

Sumoto Hachiman Jinja - The Kintenkaku was built in 1641 as part of the Sumoto Castle palace intended for receiving guests. In the Meiji period it was relocated multiple times and eventually moved to the present location at the Hachiman Shrine during the Taisho period.

Tokushima Hanshi Nagayamon - This gate was built in 1787 at the residence of one of the top retainers of the Hachisuka. The vassal was an accountant and had his home in a strategic location near the main gate to the lower castle.

Inada Residence Nagayamon - This gate was rebuilt or raised onto a platform matching the footprint of the gate itself. The building is now a garage and opening to a parking lot! You can still see the original structures from the streety however and they have obviously taken care to keep it well maintained. It is certainly one of the more uniquely preserved nagayamon gates I've seen.


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Gallery
  • Unejo Tatebori
  • Unejo Tatebori
  • Sumoto Hachiman Jinja
  • Inada Residence Nagayamon
  • Inada Residence Nagayamon
  • Tokushima Hanshi Nagayamon


Castle Profile
English Name Sumoto Castle
Japanese Name 洲本城
Alternate Names Mikuma-jo
Founder Atagi Haruoki
Year Founded 1526
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Year Reconstructed 1928 (concrete)
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Awaji Highway Bus from Kobe Sannomiya to Sumoto Bus Center; 20 min walk
Visitor Information The reconstructed tower is currently closed because it needs structural repairs.
Time Required 180 mins
Website http://sumoto-castle.net
Location Sumoto, Hyogo Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 20' 15.50" N, 134° 54' 10.33" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2012
Contributor Frank T.
Admin Year Visited 2023
Admin Visits November 26, 2023
Friends of JCastle
Kojodan
Shirobito
Japan Castle Explorer
Oshiro Meguri Fan
Jokaku Horoki


3.20
(5 votes)
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Kikima34Gunshi

81 months ago
Score 0++
This castle may be small, but the design is cool and the view is breathtaking
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ARTShogun

94 months ago
Score 0++
Due to awkward bus times to and from Awaji Island, I was only able to stay briefly at Sumoto Castle, visiting the honmaru (main bailey), but skipping the higashinomaru (eastern bailey). I’d like to go back but it’s not the easiest place to get to. That said, the superb ishigaki (stone walls) at Sumotojō made it worth visiting, even if I had to run back down the mountain to catch my bus back to Shikoku in time.