Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Castles of the Samurai: Power and Beauty Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877

Kitsuki Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Kitsuki Domain

1632 - 1645

Ogasawa Clan

40,000 Koku

松平 (能見)
1645 - 1871

Matsudaira (Nōmi) Clan

32,000 Koku

Kitsuki Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Renkakushiki), and is located in Ōita Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Bungo Province. It is associated with the Kitsuki, Matsudaira clans. Dates in use: 1393 - 1871.

This small castle has a relatively long & eventful past. In its time it has seen fierce battles between the Ōtomo & the Shimazu clans and been the residence to some other very notable ones. It has also been on the receiving end of butt-whippings dished out by mother nature. While this is all very interesting & historical, the castle probably shouldn't be on your to-see list unless you live nearby, or you are an absolute maniac when it comes to Japanese castles.

The nearby samurai quarter is sizable & quite well preserved. This stands in contrast to the rebuilt gate & main tower which are of questionable historical interest. Within the main tower are items relating to its past & its former lords.


1394 Fortifications were constructed here by Kitsuki Yorinao and completed one year later. 14 generations of the Kitsuki clan followed.
1593 In the space of just 6 years, the residing lord changed three times.
1596 The castle heavily damaged in an earthquake.
1597 The castle received further damage during a severe storm. After this, additional buildings were built at the Northern base of the mountain where administration of the domain could be carried out.
1599 The Hosokawa clan were transferred here.
1608 The main tower was struck by lightning & burnt to the ground. It was never rebuilt.
1632 The Ogasawara clan then were awarded the castle. After a very short time the Matsudaira clan took over & 10 generations remained here until the Meiji period.
1645 Buildings at the top of the mountain ceased to be used.
1970 The concrete main tower was rebuilt .