Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

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

Wakayama Castle

Images: Fujuinamiism


Kii Domain

1600 - 1619

Asano Clan

376,000 Koku

1619 - 1869

Tokugawa Clan

555,000 Koku

Wakayama Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Renkakushiki), and is located in Wakayama Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Kii Province. It is associated with the Tokugawa clan. Dates in use: 1585 - 1871.

An older castle existed at this site by the name of Ōta castle. When Hideyoshi's armies swept through the Kii peninsular on their mission to unify Japan, the samurai, monks & peasants seeking refuge within the castle found the water levels surrounding the castle on the rise. The reason for this was Hideyoshi had three dams built to flood the castle. Isolated & with no provisions, an heroic but unsuccessful final charge was made by the defenders.

The main tower, turrets & connecting walls enclose the tiny peak of Torafusa. In times past Wakayama Castle was considered one of the top three hilltop castles but WWII brought with it the destruction of the main buildings. Today just two old gates complement this concrete reconstruction.


1585 Toyotomi Hidenaga was ordered to build the castle.
1586 Kuwayama Shigeharu was stationed here by Hidenaga.
1600 The Asano clan were stationed here. Some repair work was undertaken on the stone walls.
1619 Tokugawa Yorinobu oversaw renovation & repairs to the castle.
1846 The main tower was destroyed by a lightning strike.
1850 The main tower was rebuilt after special permission was granted by the Shogunate.
1871 The castle was abandoned.
1909 The Ote Gate collapsed.
1945 The Okaguchi Gate was the only structure to remain undamaged by WWII bombing.
1958 The main tower & turrets of the main enclosure were reconstructed.
1983 The Ote Gate was rebuilt.
2007 The covered walkway connecting the Nino & Nishino enclosures was rebuilt.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site
Okaguchi GateImportant Cultural Property
Oimawashi GateCity designated Important Cultural Property