Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Castles of the Samurai: Power and Beauty Japanese Castles 1540-1640

Shōryūji Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady

Shōryūji Castle is classified as a flatland castle (its layout: Teikakushiki), and is located in Kyōto. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Yamashiro Province. It is associated with the Hosokawa clan. Dates in use: 1339 - 1649.

This castle was established in 1339 by Hosokawa Yoriharu, a samurai loyal to the first of the Ashikaga shoguns & served as a strategically important castle in the defence of Kyoto. Much later, in 1578, the castle would become the residence of Gracia, wife of Hosokawa Tadaoki & daughter of the infamous Akechi Mitsuhide.

This rather compact, historical site appears to have erupted out of the ground in the middle of suburban Kyōto. There's a rebuilt corner turret & two gates that appear to have been rebuilt using traditional methods. There is one other building, an exhibition hall which contains artifacts & information relating to the site.


1339 Shoryuji castle was built by Hosokawa Yoriharu.
1497 The castle underwent restoration.
1568 Hosogawa Fujitaka was appointed lord of this castle by Oda Nobunaga.
1571 Oda Nobunaga ordered the castle undergo restoration.
1582 Akechi Mitsuhide used this castle as his base in the Battle of Yamazaki, a battle fought against & won by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The battle came about after Mitsuhide had attacked his lord, Oda Nobunaga, forcing him to commit suicide.
1633 The Nagai clan were stationed here. The castle they inherited was in very poor condition as it had been used as a donor in the building of nearby Yodo Castle.
1649 The castle was abandoned.
1992 The castle grounds were rebuilt.