154.Tamaru Castle Part1

The home base of Nobukatsu Oda

Location and History

Nobukatsu Oda lives in Castle as Ise Province Governor

Tamaru Castle was located in the center of Ise Province which is almost the same as modern day Mie Prefecture. The castle has a long history, which was first built by the Kitabatake Clan in 1336 during the Northern and Southern Dynasties. The clan survived as a warlord and the governor of the province until the late 16th Century during the Sengoku Period, while the castle was a branch castle of them. The castle eventually got popular when Nobukatsu Oda became the governor in 1575. He also lived and improved the castle as his home base in the same year. The reason for it was that he had been adopted as the Kitabatake Clan’s successor when the Oda Clan and the Kitabatake Clan had made peace with each other after their battles.

The range of Ise Province and the location of the castle

The portrait of Nobukatsu Oda, owned by Sokenji Temple (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

He is used by Rulers of Japan

Nobukatsu is one of the most difficult historical figures to evaluate fairly. He was a son of Nobunaga Oda, the ruler of Japan. He was first used by Nobunaga to take over the Kitabatake Clan. Nobunaga actually ordered him to kill his father-in-law, Tomonori Kitabatake in order to completely make the province Oda’s own. Some historians say Nobukatsu was a fool and an incompetent. For example, he failed his own invasion of Iga Province located next to Ise in 1579 and was blamed by Nobunaga.

The portrait of Nobunaga Oda, attributed to Soshu Kano, owned by Chokoji Temple, in the late 16th century (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The portrait of Tomonori Kitabatake, owned by Iseyoshida Library (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

After his real father was killed in the Honnoji Incident in 1582, he was then used by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the next ruler. Hideyoshi used him as a stalking horse of beating Katsuie Shibata, Nobutaka Oda or subordinating Ieyasu Tokugawa to Hideyoshi. In the end, just after the completion of Hideyoshi’s unification of Japan in 1590, Hideyoshi fired Nobukatsu because he complained about moving to another territory. That was also the moment when Hideyoshi completed to take over his original master, the Oda Clan.

The Portrait of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, attributed to Mitsunobu Kano, owned by Kodaiji Temple (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

He is highly educated person

However, was Nobukatsu really incompetent even if he was inferior to the rulers; Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu? He was finally given small territories which included Uda-Matsuyama in Yamato Province and Obata in Kozuke Province by Ieyasu. He was able to govern from the first Ise to the last of these territories smoothly. He was also a highly educated person as he was once the successor of the Kitabatake Clan, which had been a noble of the Southern dynasty. It is proven by a remaining Japanese garden called Rakusanen in Obata which he built. Then, if you want to see what he was like as a warlord, it may be a good idea to see Tamaru Castle.

The location of Nobukatsu’s last territories

The Kasuga-mon Gate of Uda-Matsuyama Encampment (licensed by Saigen Jiro via Wikimedia Commons)
The ruins of Obata Encampment
Rakusanen Garden

Castle is finally followed by Tokugawa Clan

Tamaru Castle was on a hill near Ise Gingu Shrine, with the main portion as connected the Northern, Main, and Second Enclosures on its top. The Main Enclosure also had the three-level Main Tower. The Third Enclosure was below these enclosures and all were surrounded doubly by the Inner and Outer Moats. The three gates behind the moats and of the Third Enclosure were bent inside to prevent enemies from attacking easily. This structure would lead to a square defensive space called Masugata later. Some stone walls were built including the stone wall base for the Main Tower, but the details are uncertain. As long as you look at the castle, Nobukatsu chose a good location and built it well. However, the castle was unfortunately burned down by an arson in 1580 before he had to move to Matsugashima castle.

The stone wall base for the Main Tower of Tamaru Castle
The Illustration of Tamaru Castle during Horeki Era, from the signboard at the site, adding the red letters for the names of parts

After that, the castle was restored by the Gamo Clan and followed by the Inaba, Todo and finally Tokugawa Clans. In particular, the Inaba Clan renovated the castle by building stone walls surrounding all the main portions. Since 1619, one of the Three Branches of the Tokugawa Family, the Kii Domain owned the castle through the Edo Period. It was based in the Wakayama Castle, so the Kuno Clan which was a senior vassal of the domain lived in the castle. The clan maintained and repaired it when it got old or suffered damage from natural disasters such as earthquakes.

The stone walls of the Main Enclosure of Tamaru Castle, repaired by the Kuno Clan

To be continued in “Tamaru 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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