Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yokosuka Castle -From military base to administrative base-

Yokosuka Castle

-From military base to administrative base- 



Name: Yokosuka castle (Yokosuka-jo)
Place: Yokosuka Kakegawa city, Shizuoka
Location: 34.68574070850863, 137.97055172581548
Type: Hill castle
Built: 1578
Remaining remnants: Hall building (moved), two gates (moved) and stone walls
Title: Designated national histrical site

Brief History

Yokosuka castle (横須賀城) is located at seashore of Enshunada sea, in south part of current Kakegawa city. This castle was built for the purpose of encirclement to Takatenjin castle, but later used as an administrative base of this area.

Siege of Takatenjin castle

At the beginning of 16th century, this area was governed by Imagawa clan, a warlord of Suruga (central Shizuoka prefecture). In 1560, Yoshimoto Imagawa (1519-1560), head of Imagawa clan was defeated and killed at the battle of Okehazama. 

Several years later, weakened Imagawa clan was attacked by both of former ally Shingen Takeda (1521-1573) and former subordinate Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616). Ieyasu advanced into Totomi (west Shizuoka prefecture) in 1569, and occupied whole Totomi province (western Shizuoka prefecture). 

At first Shingen and Ieyasu agreed that Totomi belongs to Tokugawa clan, but three year after, Shingen attempted further expansion and attacked Tokugawa clan. In 1571, Shingen attacked Takatenjin castle located northeast of this castle, but he could not occupy that. After Shingen's death at 1573, his successor Katsuyori Takeda (1546-1582) besieged Takatenjin castle again, and finally captured it.

In 1575, Katsuyori was seriously defeated by alliance of Oda and Tokugawa army at the battle of Nagashino. After the battle Ieyasu started to counterattack to Takeda clan. He firstly recovered Futamata castle at that year, and next attempted to expel Takeda army from eastern Enshu area. But Takatenjin castle is a hard to attack castle, thus Ieyasu built several castles around Takatenjin castle and blocked the supply line.

Yokosuka castle was one of these military bases and the largest one. Ietada Matsudaira (1555-1600), a relative of Ieyasu and famous for his diary recording this period, mentioned he engaged construction of this castle several times. Under the siege of Tokugawa army Takeda clan still kept Takatenjin castle for several years, but they could not send reinforcement or supply due to the encirclement of Tokugawa army, and finally Takatenjin castle was lost at 1581. Katsuyori lost confidence from lack of Takatenjin castle, and Takeda clan was easily destroyed by Oda and Tokugawa army nest year.

Castle after the battle

After the occupation of Takatenjin castle, Yokosuka castle became the center of this area as Takatenjin castle was too distant from town. This castle was transformed into a modern one surrounded by water moats connecting to the sea, and front side of the castle facing the sea was covered by layered stone walls to show the authority of governor.

Throughout Edo era this castle had been used a as a place of administration, but due to the earthquake in 1704, the land of castle rise up and the castle was separated from sea.

Subsequent to Meiji revolution all building were lost except for a part of palace transferred to Yusanji temple (Fukuroi city) and two gates, but shape of inner areas are reserved in good manner. Stone walls of front side consists of round stones are reconstructed in old shape.


10 minutes walk from Shichikencho busstop of Akiba bus from JR Central Tokaido line Fukuroi station toward Daito Shisho. 30 minutes drive from Tomei Expressway Fukuroi interchange.

Related Castles

Takatenjin Castle -Stalingrad of Takeda clan-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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