Tamaru Castle

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Tamaru Castle was built by Kitabatake Chikafusa as a fortress against the forces of the Northern Court when Emperor Go-daigo established the Southern Court in Yoshino in 1336. Two branches of the Imperial line disputed over the sovereignty, a period of civil war which became later known as the Northern and Southern Courts Period (1336-1392). In attempt to rule the Grand Shrine of Ise, the Northern and Southern Courts fought several battles for the control of this castle near the shrine. After unification of the two courts, the Kitabatake Clan governed this castle and called it Tamaru Gosho (玉丸御所) or Tamaru Imperial Palace.

At the end of the Muromachi Period (1392-1573), Oda Nobunaga attacked Ise. He accepted the terms of the peace settlement in which his younger son, Nobukatsu, was to become the son-in-law of the Kitabatake lord and eventually succeed him. Nobukatsu restored Tamaru Castle and its three-storied keep to exactly as the original. In 1575, he also changed the name to 田丸城, which was also pronounced as Tamaru Castle. However, the castle burnt down in a fire in 1580, and Nobukatsu moved to Matsugashima Castle. After Oda Nobukatsu, the succeeding clans of Inaba, Todo, and Kuno governed the castle. With its long history, all the major styles of stone wall construction can be seen at Tamaru Castle: Nozurazumi (simple piling up of unshaped stones), Uchikomihagi (using shaped stones with smaller stones and pebbles to fill the gaps), and Kirikomihagi (using precision cut stones). The castle was dismantled after the Meiji Restoration and became the property of the government. Murayama Ryohei, a descendant of a Tamaru Fief clansman and founder of the Asahi Newspaper Company, lobbied for the preservation of the castle ruins. It was named Castle Park and opened to the public in May, 1928. This castle is an example of a Hirayama-jo or hilltop castle. It is designated as a Historical Asset of Mie Prefecture.

by RaymondW

Visit Notes

First, I have to give a huge thank you to RaymondW, frequent contributor to this site and author of the history below, for his recommendation to visit Tamura Castle. It far exceeded my expectations. This was a great site to visit. The castle grounds are nearly in tact with many stone walls and lots of good photo angles. From the Otemon (front entrance) to the Karametemon (back entrance), the good condition of the grounds really helps you to understand the layout of the castle through the combination of baileys, gates, and dry moats. A few more signs or an artist's rendering of what the castle would have looked like could really improve this site. You can see the castle hilltop from the station. When you leave Tamaru Station, take the street on your left. Go straight down the street, through the intersection with a traffic light, and you will come to the outer water moat of the castle and Tamaru Town Hall. Trains are relatively infrequent with roughly one train per hour. Tamaru is about 20 minutes by train from Matsusaka and roughly halfway between Matsusaka and Toba.

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  • Otemon Entrance
  • stone walls and a castle entrance
  • Fujimimon Gate
  • Honmaru entrance stone walls
  • Honmaru entrance
  • stone walls near the honmaru entrance
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Castle entrance seen from the honmaru
  • Main keep foundation
  • Main keep foundation
  • Main keep foundation
  • SW view from the foundation
  • honmaru stone walls
  • Ninomaru entrance stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • kitanomaru Bailey
  • Kitanomaru stone walls
  • Ninomaru as seen from the Honmaru
  • Dry moat between the Honmaru and Ninomaru
  • Ninomaru bailey
  • Obi Kuruwa bailey of the Kitanomaru
  • Kitanomaru bailey
  • Honmaru dry moat
  • Kitanomaru Bailey
  • Kitanomaru Bailey north side
  • Honmaru and Kitanomaru stone walls
  • Honmaru and Kitanomaru stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Honmaru stone walls
  • Ninomaru stone walls
  • Exit to the Karametemon
  • View from the Karametemon
  • Inner moat
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Tamaru Castle
Japanese Name 田丸城
Founder Kitabatake Chikafusa
Year Founded 1336
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Next 100 Castles, Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features gates, water moats, trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Tamaru Sta. (Line), 5 min walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.town.tamaki.mie.jp/hpdata/kanbun/syuuhen.html
Location Tamaki, Mie Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 29' 27.02" N, 136° 37' 40.73" E
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Added to Jcastle 2011
Contributor RaymondW
Admin Year Visited 2011
Admin Visits November 25, 2011

(6 votes)
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22 days ago
Score 0++
Tenrinji is a temple in Myōjō village, Meiwa Township, Taki County. It contains two relocated gates from two different castles. The temple's south gate is said to originally have been a gate used at Matsusaka Castle in Matsusaka Municipality, and the temple's front gate is said to have been originally built at Tamaru Castle in Tamaki Township, Watarai County. Meiwa Township lists this latter, grander of the two gates as a cultural property. Tenrinji is itself a nice local temple.


92 months ago
Score 0++
Currently there is a temporary reconstruction of the main keep. It's made out of scaffolding and painted boards. It's covered in fairy lights for the winter illumination.


153 months ago
Score 0++
I'm glad that you have added this little known gem of a castle ruin on your website. Your photos are great and really do justice to how much there is left at this ruin. Matsusaka Castle (one of the two 100 meijos in Mie) has more stone walls and a museum on site, but Tamaru Castle has more and a variety of defensive features left (stone walls, dry moats, water moats, earthen walls, one original gate.) For me, with the exception of when the autumn leaves are at their peak in early December at Matsusaka Castle, Tamaru Castle is the better one to visit.