191.Nakatsu Castle Part3

Nakatsu City planned to replace old stones with new ones to re-pile the walls because it didn’t think the stones were original. The construction was just on the point of starting.


Many Shrines in Main Enclosure

There are now many shrines in the Main Enclosure such as Nakatsu Shrine, Nakatsu Grand Shrine, and Okudaira Shrine. An interesting one among them is Kii Shrine, which worships a local warlord, Shigefusa Kii who was invited but murdered in the castle by Nagamasa Kuroda, Yoshitaka’s son. A tradition says Nagamasa established the shrine because he was feared by a ghost of Shigefusa’s revenge and regretted his action.

The map around the Main Enclosure

Nakatsu Shrine
Nakatsu Grand Shrine
Okudaira Shrine on the left
Kii Shrine, quoted from the Tourism Nakatsu Yabakei website
The portrait of Shigefusa Kii, owned by Tentokuji Temple (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Third and Second Enclosures

The Third Enclosure is next to the Main Enclosure, but has become the city area. It has the Main Gate Ruins to the center of the castle, where the past visitors had to pass one more gate, Kuro-mon to reach the Shiki-mon Gate of the Main Enclosure. You can still see part of the great stone walls of the Main Gate among the modern residences.

The map around the castle

The current THird Enclosure
The remaining stone walls of the Main Gate, the front part was first built by the Kuroda Clan and the back part was added by the Hosokawa Clan to make a defensive square space called Masugata
The inside of the gate was like this illustration, the remaining part is marked white, the Kuro-mon Gate and the Shiiki-mon Gate are below it, from the signboard at the site

The other neighboring Second Enclosure has become a park where you can see some remaining stone foundations of Samurai residences.

The Second Enclosure Park
The ruins of the Samurai residences

Fukuzawa’s Old House

Another recommendation you can visit is the old house of Yukichi Fukuzawa, about 1km away from the enclosure in the east. He bought this house when he was 16 years old and lived in it until 19. He came from a lower warrior class in the Nakatsu Domain, so the house can be seen as an example of those which lower class warriors lived in. The house is well maintained, for instance, the thatched roof of it is supported by wooden bars. A storehouse made with thick earthen walls also remains beside the house, where Yukichi studied on its second floor.

Fukuzawa’s Old House
The interior of the house
The supported thatched roof
The storehouse where Fukuzawa studied

Later History

After the Meiji Restoration, Nakatsu Castle was abandoned and all the castle buildings, except for the Main Hall in the Main Enclosure, were demolished. The hall was used as a government office for a while, but was burned down in 1877 by a disturbance during the Seinan War. After that, the castle ruins were used for the several shrines and the Imitation Main Tower was built in 1964. A recent topic about the castle ruins was that there was an internal controversy among the officials of Nakatsu City when it was planning to repair the stone walls opposite the riverside in the Main Enclosure in 2002. The department in charge planned to replace old stones with new ones to re-pile the walls because it didn’t think the stones were original. The construction was just on the point of starting. However, the Cultural Heritage Division argued that the wall might be original and should be preserved. As a result, the stone walls were repaired using the old stones, as it had been discovered that they were the original ones used when Yoshitaka Kuroda first built the castle. The city announced that they are the oldest remaining stone walls in the Kyushu Region.

The repaired stone walls which use the original stones

My Impression

When I visited the current Nakatsu Castle, I was little confused that the site was mixed with the original items and many ones added later such as the Imitation Tower and the shrines. However, as I learned about history of the castle and people in Nakatsu, I understood that these items came from how they made great efforts on maintaining the castle and ruins. I also understood that running castle buildings can be difficult for private sectors which need profit to continue operating. Please give it your consideration to visit Nakatsu Castle when you travel around Nakatsu City.

The Imitation Main Tower seen from the riverside

How to get There

If you want to visit there by car, it is about a 15 minutes drive away from Sadanomi IC on the Nakatsu-Hita Road. There are several parking lots around the park.
By public transportation, it takes about 15 minutes on foot to get there from JR Nakatsu Station.
From Tokyo or Osaka to Nakatsu Station: Take the express bus to Oita Station from Oita Airport after using a plane, and get the train on the Nippo Line from the station.

A parking lot beside the Main Enclosure

Links and References

Nakatsu Castle Official Website

That’s all. Thank you.
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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!