Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hamamatsu Castle -Castle of promotion-

Hamamatsu Castle

-Castle of promotion-



Name: Hamamatsu castle (Hamamatsu-jo)
Alias: Hikuma-jo (Hikuma castle)
Place: Motoshirocho, Nakaku Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka
Type: Hill castle
Built: Originally beginning of 16th century, expanded around 1570's
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, clay walls and moats
Title: 100 more famous Japanese castles

Brief History

Hamamatsu castle (浜松城) is placed at a edge of Mikatagahara plateu, reached from north of Hamamatsu to city central. Hamamatsu city is the center of Totomi province (western part of Shizuoka prefecture), and a posting place of Tokaido road, a main route connected Edo city and Kyoto city. Plan of Hamamatsu castle is designed utilizing hills and valleys of Mikatagahara plateau.

Build of Hamamatsu castle

At the beginning of 16th century, this area was governed by Imagawa clan, a warlord of Suruga province (middle part of Shizuoka prefecture). Originaly Hikuma castle was built on the east hill of Hamamatsu castle at the place of current Toshogu Shrine, and managed by Iio clan.

In 1560, Yoshimoto Imagawa (1519-1560), head of Imagawa clan was defeated and killed at the battle of Okehazama by Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), the warlord of Owari province (western Aichi prefecture). Looking at the disturbance of Imagawa clan, Iio clan tried to revolt against Imagawa clan thus Ujizane Imagawa (1538-1614), the son and successor of Yoshimoto, attacked Hikuma castle. Hikuma castle stood this attack, but Iio clan made peace with Imgawa clan and was assassinated later.

Several years later, weakened Imagawa clan was attacked by both of former ally Shingen Takeda (1521-1573), the warlord of Kai province (Yamanashi prefecture) and former subordinate Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) who became the warlord of Mikawa province (eastern part of Aichi prefecture) expelling Imagawa generals. 

Ieyasu advanced into Totomi province in 1569, and occupied both Hikuma castle and Futamata Castle (Shizuoka prefecture). Aiming for expansion to eastward, Ieyasu planed to move his residence from Okazaki castle, his birthplace to Totomi province. Ieyasu built a new castle on the edge of Mikatagahara plateau and moved from Okazaki castle. This new castle was named as Hamamatsu castle.

Struggle between Ieyasu and Shingen

Three year after, Shingen Takeda attempted further expansion to westward and attacked Tokugawa clan. On October 1572, Shingen started his campaign against Tokugawa clan and started invasion from several directions. At first detached force of Takeda army attacked Futamata castle at the 20 kilometer north of Hamamatsu castle. Futamata castle stand nearly two months, but finally was broken its water supply turret and surrendered.

At the same time, main force of Shingen marched westward from Suruga country. Ieyasu scouted with small force encountered Shingen at current Iwata city and was nearly encircled by large Takeda army. But Ieyasu burned Iwata town to conceal his troop and left battlefield, and owing to the brave fight of Tadakatsu Honda (1548-1610) who served rear guard Ieyasu barely escaped from Takeda army.

In December, main force and detached force of Takeda army joined and seemed to move westward ignoring Ieyasu who besieged at Hamamatsu castle. Takeda army had 25,000 soldiers and Ieyasu only had 10,000 troops including reinforcement from Nobunaga Oda, but Ieyasu decided to chase Takeda army and attack. 

The reason of this decision is unclear but it is said that Ieyasu might think there is a chance when Takeda army go down the narrow way at the cliff of Mikatagahara plateau. Further, to keep his authority, Ieyasu had to make some counter measure against Takeda clan.

Defeat at the battle of Mikatagahara

In December 22, Ieyasu left Hamamatsu castle and tried to assault Takeda castle going down the slope of from backside. But Shingen anticipated assault of Ieyasu and waited Ieyasu with prepared force. Trapped Ieyasu attempted to make small attack to Takeda army and leave the battlefield, but due to the counter attack of dominant Takeda army Ieyasu lost many soldiers and ran away to Hamamatsu castle. 

As the battle started at late afternoon, Ieyasu could leave the battlefield in darkness and returned to Hamamatsu castle. This battle is named as the battle of Mikatagahara, and after his return Ieyasu ordered his painter to draw his depressed face, to memorize this defeat. 

Shingen could chase Ieyasu to Hamamatsu castle and siege it, but he marched to Mikawa country without attacking Hamamatsu castle. It is said that Shingen feared damages by attacking Hamamatsu castle, or among his bad condition Shingen preceded confrontation against Nobunaga. Anyway Shingen died because of ill next spring, and Takeda army fully retreated to their nation. 

Next few year Ieyasu and Shingen's successor Katsuyori Takeda (1546-1582) continued fighting, but in 1582, Ieyasu finally beat Katsuyori with Oda army and occupied Sunpu city (Shizuoka city). Aiming for further expansion to eastward, Ieyasu built Sunpu castle and moved to there in 1586. Ieyasu grow from local lord to major warlord through the period of Hamamatsu castle.

Castle of promotion

In 1590, after the Odawara campaign against Hojyo clan, Ieyasu was transferred to Kanto region by central ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598). Hideyoshi placed his confident general at former Tokugawa territory to restrain Ieyasu, and Hamamatsu castle was managed by Yoshiharu Horio (1542-1611), along with Futamata castle. Yoshiharu reformed Hamamatsu castle into a modern one equipped stone walls, and built a three story main tower. 

Hilltop area consist of main tower area and central area, both surrounded by nozura-zumi style (Stone walls built by unshaped stones. It looks rough, but is durable because of good draining) stone walls. Currently major part of central area was scraped but originally it was more larger terrace. In front of the hill secondary area and third area spread, and the backside of the castle connecting to Mikatagahara plateau was guarded by Sakuza area. Former Hikuma castle was used as a part of outer barrier.The total size of Hamamatsu castle reached 500 meter square.

After the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ieyasu who became the new ruler moved Horio clan to Gassan Toda castle at Izumo province (Shimane prefecture). Throughout Edo era, Edo Shogunate thought important of Hamamatsu castle as it was former residence of Ieyasu and important area to control Tokaido road. 

Many hereditary lords of Tokugawa clan were appointed as lords of this castle and promoted to important position of Edo Shogunate, such as Tadakuni Mizuno (1794-1851) who became Minister of Shogunate and lead the reform of Tempo period. Because of this reason, Hamamatsu castle was called as the Castle of Promotion.

Afterward of Castle

Subsequent to Meiji revolution all buildings and lower half of the castle were lost. After World War 2 the site of the castle became a park, and an imitation of main tower was built in 1958. Furthermore, recently the front gate into central area was rebuilt over traditional Nozura-zumi style front stone wall. Castle itself is not so large one, but along with surrounding hills and valleys Hamamatsu castle becomes an oasis of Hamamatsu city covered with many kind of flowers. 


20 minutes walk from JR Central Tokaido Shinkansen line / Tokaido Honsen line Hamamatsu station. 30 minutes drive from Tomei Expressway Hamamatsu-Nishi interchange or Hamamatsu interchange.

Related Castles

Okazaki Castle -Hardship history of young Ieyasu Tokugawa-
Sunpu Cattle -Place of memory of first Shogun
Gassan Toda Castle -Rapid rise and fall of Amago clan-
Futamata Castle -Ending place of Ieyasu's eldest son-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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