Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877 The Baur Collection: Japanese Sword-Fittings and Associated Metalwork

Bitchū Matsuyama Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Matsuyama Domain

1617 - 1641

Ikeda Clan

65,000 Koku

1642 - 1693

Mizunoya Clan

50,000 Koku

1695 - 1711

Andō Clan

65,000 Koku

1711 - 1744

Ishikawa Clan

60,000 Koku

1744 - 1871

Itakura Clan

50,000 Koku

Bitchū Matsuyama Castle is classified as a mountain castle (its layout: Renkakushiki), and is located in Okayama Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Bitchū Province. It is associated with the Mizunoya, Itakura clans. Dates in use: 1240 - 1874.

This original Edo period castle is not only the highest of all Japan's castles but it is also the shortest. The two-story main tower is accompanied by several turrets which all sitting atop their stone walls. It’s a long, long walk to the top of the mountain but worth it.

It was most unfortunate that major repairs were going on during my visit to the castle. As can be seen in the first picture, the two-story main tower is covered in scaffolding. In addition to restoration of the buildings of the castle, work was being done on several sections of the stone walls.

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


1240 Akiba Shigenobu constructed a castle on a nearby peak.
1331 The castle was expanded upon to include its current site.
1575 The castle falls to the Mōri clan.
1600 The Nibori clan become lords of the area after the battle of Sekigahara.
1617 The Ikeda clan were transferred here.
1641 The Mizunoya clan were transferred here.
1695 The Ando clan were transferred here.
1711 The Ishikawa clan were transferred here.
1744 The Itakura clan were transferred here. Eight generations of the Itakura clan ruled this castle until its eventual decommissioning.
1868 The castle surrendered to Imperial forces.
1873 The castle was abandoned.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site
Main TowerImportant Cultural Property
Nijuu TurretImportant Cultural Property
San no Hirayagura Higashi Wall Important Cultural Property