Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Samurai's Blood Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877

Maruoka Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Maruoka Domain

1613 - 1695

Honda Clan

40,000 Koku

1695 - 1871

Arima Clan

50,000 Koku

Maruoka Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Renkakushiki), and is located in Fukui Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Echizen Province. It is associated with the Shibata clan. Dates in use: 1576 - 1871.

This castle is quite the survivor. It is Japan's oldest castle & while it lacks the grandeur of Japan's other original castles, it is quite an interesting specimen. One unique aspect of this castle is its stone-tiled roof which even includes the ornamental Shachi-hoko. Unfortunately, the main tower collapsed during an earthquake in 1948 but was rebuilt 7 years later using much of its original materials.

This is another surviving artifact of Maruoka castle. It is the Akazu Gate which has been relocated several kilometres to the south-east.


1576 The castle was built by Shibata Katsui's nephew, Katsutoyo.
1583 Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeated the Shibata clan.
1600 Ownership changed yet again following the battle of Sekigahara.
1612 The Honda clan were transferred here.
1695 The Arima clan were transferred here.
1871 The domain was abandoned and the castle grounds entered private ownership.
1901 The castle was donated to the town.
1948 The main tower collapsed in an earthquake.
1955 The main tower was rebuilt using materials from the original construction.

Historical recognition

Main TowerImportant Cultural Property