Takato Castle

From Jcastle.info



It's not known when the original Takato Castle was actually built, but there was originally a fortification here controlled by the Takato clan for the Suwa. When Takeda Shingen attacked the Takato clan in 1545, he took over the castle and rebuilt it into a typical modern castle for the period. The castle was later taken over by Oda Nobunaga who fortified it with large dry moats around each of the kuruwa you see today.

From the fall of the Shingen until the early Edo Period when the Naito became lords of the castle there was a succession of several castle lords. The Naito family ruled until the Meiji Restoration when the castle was decommissioned. The cherry blossoms you see at the park were planted in the Meiji Period

Visit Notes

I visited Takato when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. These are some of the best cherry blossoms I've ever seen. I highly recommend going if you have the chance. It's just difficult to take pictures without too many people. The castle itself has retained much of it's original shape with several baileys and well preserved moats. Don't miss the Shintokukan school building just outside the castle.

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  • taiko yagura
  • Toyamon gate
  • Otemon Gate
  • Ounkyo Bridge
  • Ounkyo bridge and honmaru moat
  • Hakuto bridge and moat
  • moat
  • honmaru moat
  • NInomaru moat
  • Ninomaru moat
  • Shintokukan
  • shintokukan entrance
  • Shintokukan school

Castle Profile
English Name Takato Castle
Japanese Name 高遠城
Alternate Names Kabuto-jo
Founder Takeda Shingen
Year Founded 1547
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features gates, turrets, bridges, samurai homes, trenches
Visitor Information
Access Ina City Sta. (Ida Line), 25 min bus, 15 min walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://inashi-kankoukyoukai.jp/takatoh
Location Ina, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 50' 0.28" N, 138° 3' 44.21" E
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Added to Jcastle 2009
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 1992, 2009
Admin Visits August 1992, April 11, 2009
Nearby Samurai Homes
(7 votes)
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61 months ago
Score 0++

Takatōjō / Kabutoyamajō (Ina) 高遠城・兜山城 [伊那] Takatoh Castle is a historic park and castle ruin located in Ina City (in the former Takatoh Town area). It has large, deep karabori (dry moats) and many baileys, as well as extant and reconstructed structures. Perhaps the most appealing feature of Takatōjō is the curiously shaped taiko-yagura (drum tower). This was originally located next to the castle’s karametemon (rear gate) but was relocated to its current position in the southwest corner of the honmaru (main bailey) in 1877. The Taiko was in daily use until 1943 and was later used at the local high school; it is now kept in a local museum. The Ōtemon (main gate) has also been moved around, being used as the main gate of a Takatō High School until 1984. Extant gates from the castle, including the Honmarumon, Honmarukabukimon, Karametemon, and Ninomarumon (Second Bailey Gate), have been relocated off-site. Takatō-hankō, a samurai school, was built by the last lord of the castle, Naitō Yorinao, in the Bakumatsu Period. Takatoh Castle’s integral baileys are the honmaru, ninomaru, and sannomaru (Third Bailey), an outer bailey where the hankō (Domain School) is located. Sub-baileys are located south of the main compound, and these from west to east are the Suwakuruwa, Sasakuruwa (Bamboo Enclosure), Minamiguruwa (South Enclosure) and Hōdōinguruwa. The large multi-storey structure in the Ninomaru is the Takatō Pavilion, built in 1936. At the foot of the hill on which the castle is sited is a smaller scale replica of the taiko-yagura. The castle has a large car park and toll booths with turnstiles. These weren’t in operation when we visited, however; probably they are only used during the cherry blossom viewing season and the blossoms had already dissipated by the time we came. If you’re unsure about whether or not it would be worth your time to visit Takatōjō, then going to see the sakura might be the best thing to do as the castle ruin is famous for its cherry blossom. History: A fortification was first built on the site of Takatoh Castle in the Kamakura Period by the Takatō Clan, vassals of the Suwa Clan, but the current castle was built by the Takeda Clan after their conquest of the area from 1545. The infamous Yamamoto Kansuke, Takeda Shingen’s strategist, is credited as Takatōjō’s designer. Akiyama Nobutomo was appointed castellan after the castle was built, and it was later also governed by Takeda Katsuyori. Under Takeda Shingen Takatōjō was used as a base from which to invade Mino in his war with Oda Nobunaga. In 1572, Takatōjō was used as a launch point for Takeda Shingen’s push toward Kyōto. After Takeda Shingen’s death Nishina Morinobu became castellan of Takatōjō. During the Battle of Tenmokuzan, Takatōjō was besieged by Oda Nobutada. 50,000 besiegers assaulted a defending force of only 3,000. Although surrounded, Nishina Morinobu and his men did not yield, however, so Nobutada sent in a priest to negotiate the castle’s surrender. The priest was returned to Nobutada with his ears and nose cut off. A direct assault on Takatōjō began, and it is said that from the ramparts Nishina Morinobu yelled at the attackers, prophesising the untimely death of Oda Nobunaga. As Takatōjō fell, Nishina Morinobu committed seppuku. After the destruction of the Takeda Clan, General Mori Hideyori was appointed castellan by Oda Nobunaga. After the Honnōji Incident, Tokugawa Ieyasu captured the castle and put his own general, Hoshina Masanao, in charge. In 1590 Toyotomi Hideyoshi was Regent of the Empire, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, who he had formerly been at war with, bowed to his hegemony and was relocated to Kantō (he set up his new base in a sleepy fishing village known as Edo). During the Battle of Sekigahara, pro-Tokugawa forces captured Takatōjō.

During the Edo Period Takatōjō Domain was created, valued at 30,000 koku, and awarded to Takatōjō’s old rulers, the Hoshina. The main entrance to the castle was changed thereafter to accommodate the development of Takatōjōkamachi (the castle town). A two-storey yagura (turret) was built in the honmaru and used in lieu of a tenshu (main keep). During the Edo Period the Torii Clan also ruled, and were then followed by the Naitō Clan, who occupied the castle from 1689 until the abolition of the Han System. In the Meiji Period, Takatōjō’s structures were either sold off or donated, usually to nearby temples. Takatōjō’s nationally renowned cherry blossom trees were planted in the Meiji Period.

Anonymous user #1

133 months ago
Score 0++
Beautiful and popular as a place for the cherry blossoms but from the castle point of view, you might get interested more in the Kasuga castle near Takato, located on a hill along the Kiso river. Although no buldings remained, the landscape is superb! You can see South Alps mountaiins and Ina city, and also you can enjoy cherry blossoms on the season. (sorry for my poor English)


185 months ago
Score 0++
Thanks for putting up another castle on your website. Enjoyed it a lot. The cherry blossoms photos are great.