Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877 Samurai's Blood

Sashiki Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady

Sashiki Castle is classified as a mountain castle, and is located in Kumamoto Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Higo Province. It is associated with the Nawa, Sagara, Katō clans. Dates in use: 13?? - 1615.

Circumstances surrounding the origin of Sashiki castle are unclear, though it is believed to have been established by the Sashiki clan in the 1300's. What is known with more certainty is that on the many occasions of the castle changing hands, it always came as a result of battle. The good times couldn't last for ever though, it would eventually be decommissioned in the early 1600's

There are two paths you can take to reach the castle. The car park very near the peak is the most convenient, but for those wanting to get a bit physical, you can take the steep stairs along a path that starts from behind the local tennis courts. The remaining stone-work is more-or-less limited to the centre-most enclosure but what's left is very well presented. The photos will show the non-overgrown-ness & the sturdy condition of the foundations. It is a compact site, so it actually shouldn't take more that 30 minutes to explore. Despite the castle's smallness, it is one I'd highly recommend if you're making your way between Kumamoto & Kagoshima.

Google Map Views (グーグルマップ)

Best view ベストビュー
Orbit view 軌道ビュー


13?? Fortifications were believed to have been established by the Sashiki clan during the Nanbokucho period (1336 - 1392).
1358 The castle came under possession of the Nawa clan.
1484 The Sagara clan attacked & took control of the castle.
1581 The Shimazu clan took possession of the castle. The next six years would see them take control of virtually all of Kūshū.
1587 Following the defeat of the Shimazu by Toyotomi's armies, Kumamoto and thus the castle were awarded to Sasa Narimasa.
1588 Possession of the castle was passed to the Katō whereupon the castle was renovated.
1592 The castle was briefly lost during the Umekita Rebellion.
1600 The Shimazu clan got brave & took the castle following the lead-up battles to Sekigahara.
1615 The castle was abandoned after the Tokugawa enacted a law limiting the number of castles within each province.
1638 The castle was further dismantled after the uprising in Amakusa (The Shimabara Rebellion).
1997 The castle site was "discovered". Soon thereafter, its restoration commenced.
1998 Restoration/preservation of the site was completed.
2008 The site was awarded National historic site status.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site