77.Takamatsu Castle Part1

One of the three greatest sea castles in Japan

Location and History

Chikamasa Ikoma built Castle based on experience

Takamatsu Castle, one of the greatest sea castles in Japan, was located in Sanuki Province which is now Kagawa Prefecture. The name of the prefectural capital, Takamatsu City, actually originates from this castle. Chikamasa Ikoma, who was a warrior in the 16th Century during the Sengoku Period, first built the castle. Chikamasa took part in many battles such as those at Nagashino Castle, Ishiyama Honganji Temple (former Osaka Castle), and Bicchu-Takamatsu Castle under the ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Chikamasa contributed to the unification of the country by Hideyoshi who gave Chikamasa Sanuki Province in 1587.

The location of the castle

The portrait of Chikamasa Ikoma, owned by Kokenji Temple (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The ruins of Nagashino Castle
The present Osaka Castle, which was once Ishiyama Honganji Temple
The ruins of Bicchu-Takamatsu Castle

Chikamasa at first used the existing Hiketa Castle, but he decided to build a new castle as his home base. From his experiences, his concerns about the castle were:
・whether it would be able to get naval support during battles.
・whether it would be able to withstand gun attacks.
・whether it would be able to survive a long siege.
In the end, he devised Takamatsu Castle, which was completed in 1590.

The ruins of Hiketa Castle
The present Takamatsu Castle

Castle surrounded by Sea and Triples Moats

Takamatsu Castle was built facing the Seto Inland Sea to the north, making it possible to ship directly to the sea. The castle was also surrounded by water moats tripled in the other directions, to which the sea supplied water. The main enclosure which had the three-layer main tower was isolated in the inner moat, connecting to the second enclosure with only a wooden bridge called saya-bashi. The third enclosure was next to the second enclosure, which had the gate opening to the sea. The enclosure also had the main hall for the lord of the castle. Such a castle was classified not only as a plain castle, but also a sea castle. It would be impossible for enemies to completely besiege this castle with technology at that time.

The folding screen of Takamatsu Castle and the castle town, owned by Kagawa Prefectural Museum (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Matsudaira Clan followed and developed Castle

The Ikoma Clan was allowed to maintain their territory of Sanuki Province for a while by supporting the Tokugawa Shogunate in the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. However, the clan was forcibly moved by the shogunate in 1640 due to their internal strife. After that, the Shogun’s relative, Yorishige Matsudaira was sent to Takamatsu Castle as a replacement for the Ikoma Clan. Though lords were basically not allowed to renovate their castles at that time, he developed and improved Takamatsu Castle by rebuilding the main tower and adding the northern and eastern enclosures. This was because he was also responsible for monitoring non-hereditary feudal lords in Shikoku Island, who might have been against the shogunate.

The old photo of the Main Tower Yorishige rebuilt
Part of the whole illustration of Old Takamatsu Castle, the illustration drawn after Yorishige developed the castle, from the signboard at the site

The Matsudaira Clan governed the castle and the area around as the Takamatsu Domain until the end of the Edo Period. In the peaceful time of the Edo Period, the beautiful view of the castle became a famous attraction for people. A guide book at the time says that the castle looks as if it is a floating castle on the waves from the Seto Inland Sea. The castle has also been said to be one of the three greatest sea castles in Japan.

The miniature model of Takamatsu Castle and the castle town, exhibited by Tamamo Park Museum

To be continued in “Takamatsu Castle Part2”

投稿者: Yuzo

城巡りが好きなYuzoです。日本には数万の城があったといわれています。その内の200名城を手始めにどんどん紹介していきます。 I'm Yuzo, I love visiting castles and ruins. It is said that there were tens of thousands castles in Japan. I will introduce you top 200 castles and ruins of them, and more!

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