Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Imjin War book cover Japanese Castles 1540-1640

Uto Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Uto Domain

1646 - 1870

Hosokawa Clan

30,000 Koku

Uto Castle is classified as a hilltop 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 Konishi, Katō clans. Dates in use: 1588 - 1612.

Very little remains of Uto Castle. Today, it is little more than a place for the locals to spend their recreation time. To get to the castle you must first thread the needle through the back streets of Uto. Finally, you're presented with a short & narrow driveway at the end of which is a tiny car park sandwiched between a graveyard & what was once the main enclosure. At one end of the main enclosure is a statue of the castle's founder, Konishi Yukinaga. Perhaps, just over half of the main enclosure's stonework remains.

About one kilometre to the West is the Uto Kojō, the former castle. Some restoration work was going on in a secondary enclosure during my visit. The main enclosure was open & within it were (token) rebuilt structures. The surrounding ditch had been preserved under a layer of concrete.

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


1588 Construction of the castle was started with the intent to replace the older castle a short distance to the West.
1600 Konishi Yukunaga, having aligned himself with the those opposing Tokugawa Ieyasu, lost his lands & his life to the armies of Katō Kiyomasa.
1608 The castle was refurbished following the decision that Uto castle be the site of Katō Kiyomasa's retirement.
1612 The order was given by the Shogunate that the castle be decommissioned.
1637 In the wake of the Shimabara Rebellion, the fortifications of the castle were further reduced to ensure it couldn't be used by dissenting factions.
1646 The Hosokawa lord had hoped the castle could be resurrected but this plan was quashed by the Shogunate. A Jin'ya (administration offices) was instead built.
1870 What had been Uto Domain was absorbed into that of Kumamoto.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site