Mugishima Castle, a subsidiary castle to Kumamoto Castle, was destroyed in an earthquake in 1619. Kato Kiyomasa's son Kiyotada, lord of the castle, abandoned it. Kato Masakata was directed to build Yatsushiro Castle on this site. He did not finish the castle before the Kato were transferred from Kumamoto in 1632. The new lord, Hosokawa Tadaoki and then his son completed the castle. After their deaths, Matsui Okinaga, a loyal retainer of the Kato took control of the castle. The Matsui clan continued to rule until the Meiji Period. In 1672, the main keep, a yagura and walls burned down in a fire started by lightning. They were never rebuilt. In 1797 the small keep, honmaru palace, and a 3 level yagura were also burned down in a lightning strike. These were, however, rebuilt. In the Meiji Period, all the remaining buildings but the palace were torn down. The palace was used as the prefectural headquarters.
The Kumamoto Domain had special permission from the Tokugawa Baukufu to have 2 castles in their domain (originally, Kumamoto Castle and Mugishima Castle). When Mugishima Castle was destroyed they transferred that permission to Yatsushiro Castle, otherwise it may have never been built. The purpose of having two castles was to help defend against the Satsuma domain, foreign ships and for the oppression of Christians.
|English Name||Yatsushiro Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Features||water moats, stone walls, castle town|
|Access||Yatsushiro Sta. (Kagoshima Line); 30 min walk or city bus|
|Location||Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture|
|Coordinates||32° 30' 26.86" N, 130° 35' 59.60" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2012|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|