175.Shozui Castle Part3

Huge ruins appeared from a factory ground.

Later History

After Shozui Castle was abandoned, the Kensho-ji Temple was built on the castle part, while the hall part was turned into the city area. As time passed, people thought Shozui Castle had only the castle part. However, the excavation in 1994 found that the castle part is too new for the castle’s long history. The officials did further research around the area and then found the relics of the hall for the lord under the ground of a factory nearby in 1997. Several excavations found that the hall part was much larger than expected and the ruins are very important to understand the history of the local region as well as the whole country. The ruins were lastly designated as a National Historic Site including both the castle and hall parts in 2001. The hall part is now public-owned and still being excavated.

A factory was once built on the hall part (from the signboard at the site)
The excavation started at the factory ground (from the signboard at the site)
A scene of the excavation

My Impression

I can honestly say that I was disappointed when I visited the ruins of Shozui Castle. This was because the ruins at first looked just like an empty space and small castle ruins. However, as I learned about the history of the castle, I understood that the ruins are being developed after the outstanding discovery. I believe that the ruins will become a good historical park with other new findings after a while. If you plan to visit the ruins, I recommend learning about its history in advance. In addition, it’s best to visit the ruins on the days except for the New Year’s holiday season when the office is open, then you can see some of the relics unearthed from the ruins. I couldn’t see them because I visited on a public holiday when the office was closed at that time.

The hall ruins part of Shozui Castle
The castle ruins part of Shozui Castle

How to get There

If you want to visit there by car:
It is about 15 minutes away from Itano IC on Takamatsu Expressway or Aizumi IC on Tokushima Expressway.
The ruins offer parking lots in the hall part and beside the castle part.
By train, it takes about 15 minutes walking from JR Shozui Station.
If you go there from Tokyo or Osaka, I recommend using a plane or an express bus.

That’s all. Thank you.
Back to “Shozui Castle Part1”
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175.勝瑞城 その3













175.Shozui Castle Part2

The ruins have two parts of “Hall” and “Castle”.


“Hall Ruins” and “Castle Ruins”

Now, the ruins of Shozui Castle have two parts. One of them is the larger part which was used as the hall for the Hosokawa Clan and the Miyoshi Clan. Therefore, people often call it “Shozui Hall ruins”. This area is basically an open space where a lot of relics are buried under the ground. The excavation is still ongoing with the site office. If some relics are found, they are investigated, studied, and finally buried again or taken to preserve them. After that, some exhibitions are built in the present way at the spot where the relics were found.

The aerial photo around the castle

The ruins of “Shozui Hall”

Excavation and Exhibition are on going in Hall Ruins

For example, the replica of the water moats with some bridges were built at the same place and in a similar size to the original ones. Visitors can now see how the hall area was divided by these moats in the past. In addition, the rest house which looks like a hall was built where the relics of the original hall were found. Near the rest house, some trees and rocks were restored where the original Japanese rock garden was built. There are also many signboards which explain what were there and what happened to the castle.

The replica of the water moats
The rest house which looks like a hall
The partly restored garden
An example of the signboards at the site

Castle Ruins remain as Temple

The other part is the one which was added as the final part for a battle in the final stage of the castle. It looks more likely to be castle ruins, so people also often call itself “Shozui Castle ruins”. However, this part is much smaller than the hall part with about 100 m square (vs 200 to 300 m square for the hall). This is probably because the castle part was built and used in a short time. There is Kensho-ji Temple on the ruins, which was established in the Edo Period, collecting the graves of the Miyoshi Clan. The water moats and some earthen walls surrounding the ruins still remain. The original earthen walls were 14m high from the bottom of the moat (2.5m above the water surface) according to the excavation.

Kensho-ji Temple
the graves of the Miyoshi Clan
The water moats surrounding the ruins
The partly remaining earthen walls

To be continued in “Shozui Castle Part3”
Back to “Shozui Castle Part1”