Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Imjin War book cover Japanese Castles 1540-1640

Yanagawa Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Yanagawa Domain

1601 - 1620

Tanaka Clan

325,000 Koku

1620 - 1871

Tachibana Clan

109,000 Koku

Yanagawa Castle is classified as a flatland castle, and is located in Fukuoka Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Chikugo Province. It is associated with the Tanaka, Tachibana clans. Dates in use: 1504 - 1872.

Precious few signs of Yanagawa's castle remain. A section of stonework and an old photograph of the main tower are the only tangible items from the inner enclosure of the castle. Where the castle once stood now stands a Junior High School. The 5-story, 35-metre main tower built by the Tanaka clan stood atop 8-metre stone base.

My visit to Yanagawa was back in 2002 when digital camera technology wasn't quite what it is today. So, apologies for the quality of the images. Aside from the obvious lack of castle-related relics, there are still several points of interest. The major one being Ohana, which is a museum dedicated to the historical items of the Tachibana clan. Also, there is the canal trip through the former castle's moats.

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


1558 Constructed by Kamachi Akimori, completed in 1569 or 1570.
1581 The Nabeshima clan took control of the castle.
1584 The Nabeshima clan moved their HQ to Saga castle and were replaced with the Ryuzoji clan.
1587 Tachibana Muneshige was awarded the fief of Chikugo.
1600 The siege of Yanagawa. Tachibana Muneshige had sided himself against the Tokugawa & following the battle of Sekigahara, he found the Katō & the Kuroda clan's armies on his doorstep. He promptly switched allegiances but had to sit out further hostilities with other non-Tokugawa aligned clans. The Tanaka clan were awarded the domain. The castle was then rebuilt to modern standards.
1621 Tachibana Muneshige assumed control of the domain after the Tanaka clan died without an heir.
1872 On the 18th of January the castle burnt down.
1873 The castle was officially decommissioned.
1874 The stonework was dismantled and re-used.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site