NejoHachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture

Spring Nejo 1Spring Nejo 2Spring Roots 3Spring Roots 4Spring Roots 5Spring Roots 6Spring Roots 7Spring Roots 8Spring Nejo 9Spring Roots 10
summer castle 1Summer castle 2summer castle 3summer castle 4Summer Nejo 5summer castle 6Summer Nejo 7Summer Nejo 8Summer Nejo 9
castle construction1334
address47 Nejo, Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture
telephone number0172-33-8739
Opening hours9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Admission until 4:00 p.m.)
closing dayMondays, the day after holidays, New Year's holidays (December 27th to January 4th)
Admission feeAdults 250 yen, high school and university students 150 yen, elementary and junior high school students 50 yen

Nejo was built by the Nanbu Moroyuki clan in 1334.

Access to Nejo
Approximately 15 minutes by bus from Hachinohe Station on the JR Tohoku Main Line or Tohoku Shinkansen.

HISTORY"Nejo Castle" was abandoned in the early Edo period

Nejo Castle was a flat castle located in Nejo, Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture. It was built during the Nanboku-cho period as the base of the Nejo Nanbu clan, and was remodeled several times before being abandoned in the early Edo period. Currently, some of the buildings built during the Azuchi-Momoyama period have been restored as a valuable historical site that preserves the remains of medieval structures. Let's take a look at the history of Nejo Castle.

Negoro Castle Construction
Ne Castle was built in 1334 by Nanbu Michiyuki, who originally had land in Kai Province, but when Nitta Yoshisada attacked Kamakura, he joined his army and achieved military success.
When the Kamakura Shogunate fell and Emperor Go-Daigo began the Kenmu Restoration, Nanbu Michiyuki's family was also given positions. Then, in 1333, they accompanied Emperor Go-Daigo's son Prince Yoshiyoshi and accompanied Mutsu no Kami Kitabatake Akiie to Taga Castle in Mutsu Province. When a small Oshu Shogunate was established here, with Kitabatake Akiie at the apex, Nanbu Michiyuki was appointed as the district magistrate of Nukabe District. Nukabe District is the area that stretches from present-day eastern Aomori Prefecture to northern Iwate Prefecture. This area was a breeding ground for military horses, and one theory is that the Nanbu clan was given this land because of their experience in managing cattle ranches.
Nanbu Michiyuki, who became the governor of Nukabe County, built Nejo Castle in Hachimori, Nukabe County, as the residence of the Nanbu clan. Based in Nejo Castle, Nanbu Michiyuki won the Daikoji Battle, a battle between powerful families in Tsugaru that occurred after the fall of the Kamakura Shogunate, and extended his influence to the Tsugaru region. However, he participated in the subjugation of Ashikaga Takauji together with Kitabatake Akiie, and was killed in battle with Takano Moronao in 1338. After that, the Nanbu clan vowed to remain in the Middle Ages to the Southern Court and continued to reject the Muromachi Shogunate's advice to surrender, but as the Southern Court's power weakened, so did the Nanbu clan's strength. In 1393, the 4th year of the Meitoku era, Nanbu Masamitsu, who was the 8th lord of Kai Province, the home of the Nanbu clan, moved his base to Nejo Castle again and attempted to revive the Nanbu clan, but skirmishes continued in the surrounding area and it was difficult to succeed.
The Nanbu clan, whose castle was based in Neshiro, began to be known as the "Hachinohe clan" around this time. At the same time, the Sannohe Nanbu clan, also a Nanbu clan, expanded its influence in northern Oshu. The Sannohe Nanbu clan later gained the backing of the Toyotomi government and further expanded its influence, gaining control over Hei, Waga, and Hienuki counties.
From the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the abandoned Nejo Castle
During the Odawara Campaign in 1590, Nanbu Nobunao, head of the Sannohe Nanbu clan, returned to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and was granted control of his seven Nanbu counties. At the same time, he was given permission to bring the Hachinohe Nanbu clan under his control. With this, the Hachinohe Nanbu clan officially became vassals of the Sannohe Nanbu clan.
In 1592, the main castle was demolished by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but the castle lord's residence, including the mansion, remained, and the castle continues to be the base of the Hachinohe Nanbu clan.
When the Edo Shogunate was established, the Sannohe Nanbu clan established the Morioka Domain and Hachinohe was incorporated into the Morioka domain. Then, in 1627, during the reign of Hachinohe Naoyoshi, the 22nd head of the Hachinohe Nanbu clan, the clan was transferred to Tono Province by Nanbu Toshinao, the first lord of Morioka. As a result, Nejo Castle ceased to function as the base of the Hachinohe Nanbu clan and was abandoned.
The Hachinohe Nanbu clan, who were transferred to Tōno, worked hard to reclaim the Tōno region, which was then a wasteland, and eventually came to be known as the Tōno Nanbu clan.
Modern-day stronghold
The abandoned castle was forgotten for a long time, but was designated a national historic site in 1941. Excavation and maintenance surveys were carried out for 11 years from 1983, and some of the buildings, including the main hall of the inner citadel, were rebuilt in 1994.
Currently, it functions as a valuable resource for learning about medieval castles and as a tourist attraction.
In 2006, it was designated as one of Japan's 100 Famous Castles.
Nejo Castle has functioned since the Nanboku-cho period as the base of the Hachinohe Nanbu clan, a branch of the Nanbu clan that ruled the Aomori region. When the Sannohe Nanbu clan was recognized as the head family of the Nanbu clan, Nejo Castle lost its function as a castle, but it continued to be the castle of the Hachinohe Nanbu clan until the early Edo period.
Today, you can visit the main hall, workshops, blacksmith shops, and other facilities that are not found in modern castles. The remains other than the main enclosure have been turned into a park, which is popular as a place of relaxation for the local citizens.

History of the Hachinohe clan, whose domain office was Nejo

Hachinohe DomainBecame independent from Morioka Domain
The Hachinohe Domain was created when the second lord of the Nanbu Morioka Domain, Nanbu Shigenao, died without appointing a successor. By order of the shogunate, 20,000 koku was allocated from the 100,000 koku of land in the Nanbu Morioka Domain, and Nanbu Shigenao's younger brother, Nakazato Kazuma (Nanbu Naofusa), became the first lord of the domain.
Hachinohe Domain
Hachinohe Domain DATA
old areaMutsu Province, Sannohe District
stone height20,000 koku
main lordNanbu family
Estimated population68,000 people (first year of the Meiji era)

Split from the Morioka domain. Naofusa Nanbu became the first lord of the domain.

Japanese Castle Photo Contest.03