Tsuyama Castle

From Jcastle.info

Tsuyama1.jpg

History

For his success at the Battle of Sekigahara Mori Tadamasa was awarded part of the Mimasaka area. He started construction of the castle in 1604 and completed the castle in 1616. After four generations, the Mori were replaced by Matsudaira Nobutomi. Tsuyama Castle was one of the most well fortified castles ever constructed in Japan. It had so many yagura and gates it was considered to be over fortified. The castle was dismantled during the Meiji Restoration.


Visit Notes

Even though there is only the one reconstructed yagura left, the tall stone walls remain in good condition.




Gallery
  • bitchu yagura
  • stone walls
  • stone walls
  • stone walls
  • View from across the river near the train station
  • stone walls
  • Bitchu Yagura and honmaru stone walls.
  • Stone walls
  • Looking at the Ninomaru courtyard from the Honmaru.
  • stone walls
  • Inside the Bitchu Yagura
  • Inside the Bitchu Yagura.


Castle Profile
English Name Tsuyama Castle
Japanese Name 津山城
Alternate Names Kakuzan-jo
Founder Mori Tadamasa
Year Founded 1604
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features turrets, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Tsuyama Sta. (Tsuyama Line); 15 min walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.city.tsuyama.okayama.jp/chikujo400/
Location Tsuyama, Okayama Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 3' 46.37" N, 134° 0' 19.58" E
Loading map...
Admin
Added to Jcastle 2009
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Malcolm Fairman Photography - Tsuyama Castle


3.50
(12 votes)
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ARTShogun

18 days ago
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Tsuyamajō, a major Edo period citadel, features terrific ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) in profusion, and a reconstructed yagura (turret) with adjoining dobei (walls). The ishigaki encase the entire hill like some gigantic ziggurat. The top of the castle-mount is crowned by the tenshudai (platform for main keep). The ishigaki, and the complex layout of the castle, are for me the highlight of Tsuyamajō, and the yagura is the cherry on top, as it were.

During our visit it rained very heavily and I got soaked. It brightened up a bit later but it was difficult to take pictures much of the time due to all the moisture. We made it just in time to the yagura before it closed. Also when we went parts of the castle were off-limits due to restoration work being carried out on ishigaki. Cranes could be seen with rows of stone blocks laid out before them. I recommend all castle fans visit Tsuyamajō, although winter might be best due to less tree cover obscurring views of the ramparts, and spring, when the cherry blossoms attract their hordes of sakura-chasers, might not suit some castle explorers. Shūrakuen, the daimyō garden of Tsuyama-han, is located not far from the castle and also worth a visit.

History:

The castle mount on which Tsuyamajō is built was originally called Tsuruyama (Crane Mountain) and there was a medieval castle built on it, but the castle we see today dates to the Edo Period. In 1603, due to his contributions at Sekigahara, Mori Tadamasa was granted a feifdom here worth 186,000 koku; he re-named the mount Tsuyama and began constructing the castle in 1604, which was completed in 1616 and contained a tenshu (donjon) and a whopping 77 yagura.

In the Meiji Period all castle structures were dismantled for raw materials and some gates were relocated. The yagura seen today was reconstructed in 2005. Called the Bitchū Yagura, it is a recent, historically accurate reconstruction. The interior contains tatami matting and it has a veranda facing the main bailey.
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PhibbyfanAshigaru

79 months ago
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That was a special event. I believe it was part of the 1300th anniversary of Mimasaka Province.
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ARTShogun

79 months ago
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I'm finding pictures online of a mock reconstructed keep at this castle. Is it a permanent thing?
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FurinkazanHatamoto

129 months ago
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I went today to this castle like i said some days earlier. Sadly it was raining this morning and like i thought the sakura were to their end. There were some still blooming. There are alot of maples too, so it must be nice during the momiji.

Apart from trees, the ishigaki are very well preserved and the bitchu-yagura was so interesting. It's the first time i've seen a goten inside such a turret. Are there others known? One minus point is that nothing is translated. You can have a page of explanations in the turret in english, but that's it. I still give 2.5 stars because of the reconstructed turret. It gives you such a feeling that you could living there right on the spot!
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RaymondWHatamoto

141 months ago
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It was over-fortified in its day, John. There WAS a five-storey castle keep and 60 turrets / watchtowers: 25 two-storey turrets, 25 one-storey turrets, and 10 stretched-out one-storey turrets (Tamonyagura). Of course, they are all gone now because they were torn down at the beginning of the Meiji Period, but the stone walls and bases are all there. Osaka Castle which is certainly much bigger and covers a larger area had less than half the number of turrets that Tsuyama Castle had. It's the number of turrets and their density that makes this a heavily over-fortified castle in its day.
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Jcastle.oldHatamoto

147 months ago
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Michele, I think you're right. for castles I have not visited I normally rely on the suggestion of whoever donated the pictures. I've changed the ratings as follows: Tsuyama = 3 stars, Matsusaka = 2 stars, Odani = 1 star. The search index will be updated tonight.
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RaymondWHatamoto

154 months ago
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Tsuyama Castle is a bit out of the way to visit, but if you are staying overnight in Okayama, then do make it to this castle, Okayama Castle, and Bitchu-Matsuyama Castle (an original castle.) over a two-day period. It takes almost 90 minutes by local train to get to Tsuyama from Okayama Station. Occasionally, there are some semi-express trains to Tsuyama which cuts the journey time down to around 70 minutes. I got the local train going up and was lucky enough to catch the semi-express one back to Okayama. If you like stone walls and a castle design that went for over-fortification then this is one for you. Like Marugame Castle, the whole hilltop has been practically encased in stone, but unlike Marugame Castle, this one had lots and lots of turrets in its days plus a zig-zag defence in the way that it placed its gates. There are no surviving original buildings there, but the Bitchu Yagura (Turret) has been reconstructed (finished in 2005) using traditional materials. Inside this yagura is a video which uses CG to show what the castle looked like in its time and how it was reconstructed. Of course, it is all in Japanese, but the pictures certainly help. This castle ruins has thousands of cherry trees, so at the end of March and beginning of April, it is covered in pink cherry blossoms...and probably squillions of cherry blossom-viewers, too.