Maruoka CastleSakai City, Fukui Prefecture

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Maruoka Castle DATA
TenshuExisting castle tower
Other nameKasumigajo
castle construction1576
address1-59 Kasumi-cho, Maruoka-cho, Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture
business hours8:30-17:00 (last entry 16:30)
Castle rest dayOpen all year round
Entrance feeAdults 450 yen / Children 150 yen

Maruoka Castle is one of the existing castle towers (12 existing castle towers) and the only one remaining in the Hokuriku region.

Access to Maruoka Castle
5 minutes walk from JR Maruoka Station by bus.

HISTORYMaruoka Castle is the only castle in Hokuriku that still has a castle tower.

Maruoka Castle is a Hirayama castle located in Kasumi, Maruoka-cho, Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture. Another name is ``Kajo''. Currently, only the castle tower exists, and it is designated as an important cultural property as the only existing castle tower in Hokuriku. During the Edo period, it functioned as the domain office of the Maruoka domain. Let's unravel the history of Maruoka Castle.

Maruoka Castle before the Edo period
Maruoka Castle was built in 1576 by Katsutoyo Shibata, nephew of Katsuie Shibata, a famous vassal of Oda Nobunaga. At the time it was built, it was treated as a branch castle of Kitanosho Castle, the residence of Katsuie Shibata.
The prevailing theory has been that the existing castle tower was built at this time for a long time. However, as a result of an academic investigation conducted by the Sakai City Board of Education in 2019, it was found that it was built during the Kanei era (1624-1644) of the Edo period.
The existing castle tower is an old-fashioned castle tower with a small watchtower with a wrap around the top of the main building, and is an old form even at the time it was built. It is a two-story, three-story building, and the first floor has an ``Ishiotoshi'' and ``Hazama''. The structure in which the first floor supports the second and third floors, rather than through pillars, is a structure rarely seen in other castle towers.
In addition, the stairs that go up from the first floor to the second floor are at an angle of 65 degrees, and the stairs that go up from the second floor to the third floor are at an angle of 67 degrees, which are rarely seen in other castles. While many of the castle towers built during the Edo period were extravagantly built to show off the dignity of the castle lord, Maruoka Castle can be said to be a castle prepared for actual battle.
Maruoka Castle in the Edo period
It is known that the castle tower of Maruoka Castle was rebuilt during the Kanei era, but no documents have been found to show this. Furthermore, there are no records of any major repairs being carried out, so research is still awaited to find out how Maruoka Castle changed during the Edo period.
Maruoka Castle after the Meiji era
In 1871, Maruoka Castle was abandoned due to the abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures. The buildings other than the castle tower were gradually demolished, and the castle ruins were bought back by Maruoka City and turned into a castle park.
In 1934, the castle tower was designated as a national treasure based on the laws of the time.
In 1948, the castle tower collapsed due to the Fukui earthquake.
In 1949, the castle tower was once again designated as an important cultural property, and major restoration work began, led by Kenyo Tomokage, the town mayor at the time, and others.
Based on a survey prepared in 1942, it was beautifully restored using building materials from the castle tower that collapsed in 1950. This is Maruoka Castle, which is now regretted.
In 1990, the castle ruins park was selected as one of the top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots as Kasumigajo Park. Additionally, in 2006, it was selected as one of Japan's top 100 famous places.
Current Maruoka Castle
Today's Maruoka Castle is the only castle in the Hokuriku region with an existing castle tower and is a tourist attraction. If you pay the entrance fee, you can freely enter the castle tower and take photos. It is visited by many history buffs as it is one of the few places where you can see an actual castle built in the early Edo period. Additionally, part of the outer moat around the castle, which was reclaimed during the Meiji era, is still used as an irrigation canal. In addition, Shigetsugu Honda, who is famous for the letter that begins with ``The Beware of a Fire in the First Stroke'', once served as the lord of the castle, so a monument to the first letter was built, and the ``Japan's Shortest Letter Contest'' is held every year. There will also be a bulletin board displaying winning entries.

History of the Maruoka Domain, whose domain office is Maruoka Castle

Maruoka domainRuled by the Honda family and the Arima family.
The Maruoka domain was ruled by the Honda family and the Arima family until the end of the Edo period. Let's unravel the history of the Maruoka domain and what kind of domain it was. Maruoka Castle was built by the son (nephew) of Katsuie Shibata's sister until the Honda family established the Maruoka Domain.
Maruoka domain
Maruoka Domain DATA
Domain officeMaruoka Castle
old areaSakai District, Echizen Province
stone height40,000 koku
main lordHonda family/Arima family
Estimated population23,000 people (first year of the Meiji era)

Narishige Honda acquired 46,000 koku, which belonged to the Maruoka Castle of the Fukui clan, and put it in his possession. Next, Seijun Arima is included. The Arima family continues for eight generations.

Japanese Castle Photo Contest.03