Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Castles of the Samurai: Power and Beauty Imjin War book cover

Kushizaki Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Chōfu Domain

1615 - 1864

Mōri Clan

36,000 Koku

Kushizaki Castle is classified as a hilltop castle, and is located in Yamaguchi Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Nagato Province. It is associated with the Mōri clan. Dates in use: 940 - 1615.

Through fortifications had existed here for several centuries, the site was given a new lease on life in 1602 when the head of the Mōri clan established the Chōfu domain here. In 1615, the castle was decommissioned but the attached administrative offices remained in use throughout the Edo period.

The stonework of the main tower seen today appears to have been completely rebuilt using newly quarried stone. The stones are sharp, unweathered and the chiseling marks remaining from splitting the stones are not consistent with traditional techniques.

There does appear to be remnant and significant sections of stonework. Also, in the surrounding castle-town, there remain several interesting historical buildings.

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940 Fortifications were believed to have been established.
1569 It became the residential castle of Naitō Takaharu.
1602 The Chōfu domain was established with Mōri Hidemoto at its head.
1615 When the One country, one castle law was passed, the buildings of the main enclosure were decommissioned and the castle became known as a Jin'ya (Government administrative offices.)
1863 The site was decommissioned. Operations were transferred to Katsuyama Palace