Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

The Baur Collection: Japanese Sword-Fittings and Associated Metalwork Samurai's Blood

Sendai Castle

Images: Jcastle.info


Sendai Domain

1600 - 1871

Date Clan

580,000 Koku

Sendai Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Renkakushiki), and is located in Miyagi Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Mutsu Province. It is associated with the Date clan. Dates in use: 1602 - 1871.

Many of the typical features that castles employed were absent from its simple design. One reason is that the Date clan were one of the few who enjoyed little or no regulation of their castles by the Shogunate. So, while only this castle may have fallen easily, it was in fact well protected as the Date lands were littered with a network of smaller forts.

While the castle's buildings & defences may not have been so intimidating, it certainly did make great use of its environs to enhance its defences. It is actually located on a plateau, the South & East sides are sheer cliffs, there is deep forest then a mountain range to the West, and the North was protected by the Nino Maru & Sanno Maru defensive rings.


1600 Date Masamune commenced construction of the castle. The walls, gates & turrets of two fortified enclosures were completed 17 months later.
1610 The Hiroma Hall of the main enclosure was completed.
1616 The walls & turrets were destroyed by an earthquake.
1638 Another fortified area, complete with administrative buildings & housing, was built. It was located at the foot of the mountain North of what in now the third enclosure (Sanno Maru.)
1646 The rebuilt walls suffered damage & all turrets in the Hon Maru were destroyed.
1668 The rebuilt then repaired walls were devastated by an earthquake yet again.
1683 The stone walls & foundations (Ishigaki) were repaired. The turrets that were located next to the main gate were rebuilt but on a smaller scale. There were two corner turrets that had collapsed but were not rebuilt.
1710 Ishigaki on the western edge of the defences were damaged by another earthquake.
1804 Part of the Nino Maru burnt to the ground after a lightning strike.
1809 The Nino Maru was reconstructed.
1871 The castle was abandoned.
1882 Sparked by fireworks, most remaining buildings were lost in a blaze.
1945 The remaining Ōte Gate & corner turret were lost in WWII bombing.
1967 The corner turret was rebuilt.
2003 The site was designated an Historic site.
2004 The stone foundations of the main enclosure were restored.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site