Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Japanese Castles 1540-1640 Imjin War book cover

Hirosaki Castle

Images: ©Yasufumi Nishi ©JNTO


Hirosaki Domain

1600 - 1871

Tsugaru Clan

100,000 Koku

Hirosaki Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Teikakushiki), and is located in Aomori Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Mutsu Province. It is associated with the Tsugaru clan. Dates in use: 1611 - 1871.

In 1611, when the construction of Hirosaki castle was originally completed, the immense grounds of the castle could be viewed from atop its 5 story main tower. Just 16 years later though, the main tower was struck by lightning & burnt to the ground. The three story tower built to replace still stands today. Several other gates & turrets have also managed to survive to the present day.


1603 Construction began on the castle.
1604 Construction of the castle was suspended with the death of lord of the castle, Tsugaru Tamenobu.
1611 Tamenobu's son completed the castle.
1627 The main tower burnt down.
1628 The castle was renamed from Takaoka Castle to Hirosaki Castle.
1810 The main tower was rebuilt but in a different location.
1871 The castle was abandoned.
1906 A turret in the Northern enclosure & the Hitsujisaru Turret burnt down.

Historical recognition

Main TowerImportant Cultural Property
Sannomaru Higashi GateImportant Cultural Property
Tatsumi TurretImportant Cultural Property
Hitsujisaru TurretImportant Cultural Property
Ushitora TurretImportant Cultural Property
Ninomaru Minami GateImportant Cultural Property
Ninomaru Higashi GateImportant Cultural Property
Sannomaru Oute GateImportant Cultural Property
Kitanokuruwa Kita GateImportant Cultural Property