Sunomata Castle




Oda Nobunaga wanted a castle built in the Sunomata area as a bridgehead for his final assault on Saito’s main castle, Inabayama (Gifu) Castle. It was a marshy region between Ogaki Castle, which was held by Oda forces, and Saito’s stronghold, Inabayama Castle. Previous attempts to build a castle in the area by Oda generals, Sakuma Nobumori and Shibata Katsuie, had failed. Kinoshita Tokichiro (later Toyotomi Hideyoshi) was ordered to try again. The construction materials were obtained by felling trees upstream and then floating the logs down the Sunomata River and tributaries of other rivers to the castle site. By cleverly pre-assembling some sections of defensive structures and hiding them before the final steps in the construction of this fortified site, Tokichiro was able to build his first castle ever and do it “overnight”. In reality, it took at least two to three days to put up the basic defensive structures and longer to dig the moats around the castle. As Toyotomi Hideyoshi, he was to repeat this clever psychological ploy on a grander scale with the construction of Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle to demoralize the Odawara Castle defenders. In comparison, Sunomata Castle was more akin to a border fort with some simple watchtowers, wooden palisades, and dry moats. There is a good model of what the castle may have looked like inside the Sunomata History Museum. After the successful conquest of Mino, and its integration into the growing Nobunaga empire, Sunomata Castle was decommissioned.

Visit Notes

I went to Sunomata Castle after visiting Takenaka Jinya and Ogaki Castle. I took my folding bike with me and rode to Sunomata Castle from JR Ogaki Station in around 20 minutes. There are buses to Sunomata Castle from either Ogaki Station or Gifu Station, but I am not sure of their schedules. The land where the original Sunomata Castle stood has changed as a result of the changes in the course of the local rivers. A map inside the Sunomata Castle Museum clearly shows this. Also, the present concrete Sunomata Castle is nothing like what was built by Tokichiro, but it does house a pretty decent museum about the history of the castle and the conflict between Nobunaga and the Saito Clan of Mino. From Sunomata Castle, you can clearly see Gifu Castle perched on Mt. Kinka in the distance on a clear day.


Castle Profile
English Name Sunomata Castle
Japanese Name 墨俣城
Alternate Names Ichiya Castle, Sunomata Ichiya Castle
Founder Kinoshita Tokichiro (Toyotomi Hideyoshi)
Year Founded 1566
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features main keep, water moats, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Ogaki Sta. ; Bus
Visitor Information 9:00am-5:00pm / 200yen
Time Required 45 minutes
Location Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 22' 1.63" N, 136° 41' 15.72" E
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Added to Jcastle 2012
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Admin Visits Viewer Donated

(6 votes)
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Matthew WardGunshi

7 months ago
Score 0++
It's a cute little mogi, and was less underwhelming inside than many reconstructed castles. Also, the riverside location is nice. Worth 2 stars for the attractiveness and the museum.


88 months ago
Score 1++
The mock reconstructed keep is built on the flood embankment at a convergence of multiple waterways, and despite modern infrastructural works surrounding the site, because in fact those great barriers against the river waters seem like walls protecting the castle, it has an interesting atmosphere. From the keep one can see both Ōgakijō to the west and Gifujō to the east. Thankfully exhibits included in the museum show the true state of the castle and nearby landscape as it existed originally. I twin Sunomatajō with Sekiyadojō due to the close similarity in setting, albeit of the two Sekiyadojō is most historically accurate.


99 months ago
Score 0++
Oops, now corrected. Thank you !


99 months ago
Score 0++
This castle is BLUE on the MAP, but I see a reconstructed keep in the picture here. Is that a mistake? It seems so.


102 months ago
Score 0++
I took the bus from Ogaki station to this castle in September 2015. The helpful people at the bus information booth outside the station will give you a paper timetable and, as the bus generally only runs once per hour, it's worth picking up the timetable before walking down the road to Ogaki Castle. I took a 12:10 bus (370 yen) that arrived at the Sunomata stop at 12:32, so it's not that far from Ogaki but just a bit too far to walk. The castle itself looks just like the photos above and the museum is small but reasonably interesting. There were only 2 other people there on the perfect, sunny day I visited, so it was easy to get some great photos! It's not a \must see"castle by any means but if you're in Ogaki anyway it's certainly worth the extra effort"