Images: Daniel O'Grady
鍋島氏1607 - 1871
佐賀城Saga Castle is classified as a flatland castle, and is located in Saga Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Hizen Province. It is associated with the Nabeshima clan. Dates in use: 1602 - 1871.
Saga domain was one of the more unusual ones, in that a single clan remained in control of it throughout the entire Edo period. That's not to say things were uneventful. The castle itself suffered from the obligatory fires, but also, within the borders of Hizen province were two notable rebellions. The first being the Shimabara rebellion of 1638, the second being the Saga rebellion of 1874. Yet another claim to fame is that the classic book, Hagakure, was written by one of the retainers of the Nabeshima clan.
In 1611, renovations of the prior fortifications were complete. Scarce details remain of what the castle may have looked like at that time. What is known is that there was a five-layered main tower, 80-metre-wide moats and earthen embankments covered with trees to obscure the form of the castle from the outside.
What remains from the Edo period today are some sections of stonework, the very fine Shachi Gate and the Gozanoma. The Gozanoma contained the lord's actual living quarters, and to be honest, it's only some roof tiles & the pillars that have survived from the original building.
Ryuzoji TakanobuPrior to the Nabeshima clan being in possession of the castle in 1584, it was the Ryūzōji clan who commanded the fortifications at this location. Known then as Muranaka castle, sections of the castle were unearthed toward the bank of the western moat. A marker also exists on the eastern side of the castle showing the location of Takanobu's birth.
|1608||Constructed, completed in 1611.|
|1726||The Honmaru, Ninomaru & Sannomaru buildings burnt down.|
|1728||Nino Maru buildings reconstructed.|
|1835||Nino Maru suffered severe fire damage.|
|1838||Reconstruction of Honmaru buildings including the Gozonoma and Shachinomon gate completed.|
|1874||The Saga rebellion. Supported by 3,000 former samurai, Etō Shimpei took control of Saga castle only for it to be taken back about two weeks later. Much of the castle was destroyed.|
|2004||The Honmaru palace was reopened as a historical museum.|
|Shachi Gate & Tsuzuki Turret||Important Cultural Property|
|Site||Prefectural historic site|
|Gozonoma||City designated important cultural property|