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Castle Kururi Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Kururi Castle (久留里城 Kururi-jō) is located in Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture, in the centre of Bōsō Peninsula.

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The main enclosure (本丸 honmaru) and the second enclosure (二の丸 ni-no-maru) were built on top of a hill, while the third enclosure (三の丸 san-no-maru) and samurai mansions were located between the foot of the hill and Obitsugawa River (小櫃川).

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This map is based on Google Earth. The location of the enclosures and other structures are based on my estimations.

History


In the Sengoku Period, Kazusa Province (上総国 Kazusa-no kuni) was under the control of the Mariyatsu Takeda clan. In the Muromachi Period, Takeda Nobunaga (武田信長, d. 1477) had constructed a hill-top fortification which was taken over and expanded by his descendants, the Mariyatsu Takeda, in 1540. Later, Satomi Yoshitaka invaded from Awa Province (in modern-day southern Chiba) and captured Kururi Castle, where he set up a base for his war against the Hōjō. After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the castle, the Hōjō finally succeeded in 1564 but lost it to Yoshitaka only three years later.

After the Siege of Odawara (1590), Toyotomi Hideyoshi dispossessed the Satomi of their holdings in Kazusa. When Tokugawa Ieyasu was transferred to Kantō, he assigned one of his retainers, Ōsuga Tadamasa to take over the castle and rule over Kururi Domain (30,000 koku). After the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), the Ōsuga were transferred back to their ancestral domain in Suruga Province (present-day Shizuoka Prefecture) and the Tsuchiya clan (土屋氏) was posted at Kururi Castle. The well-known bureaucrat and scholar Arai Hakuseki (新井白石, 1657-1725) had once served the Tsuchiya when he was young. However, Tsuchiya Naoki (土屋直樹, 1634-1681) was stripped of his rank and position by the reason of insanity in 1679.

The domain was suppressed and the castle lay abandoned for the next 60 years, until 1742, when Kuroda Naozumi (黒田 直純, 1705-1776) was transferred to Kururi from Numata Domain in Kozuke Province. He rebuilt the fortifications originally constructed under Ōsuga Tadamasa. The Kuroda clan governed here for some 130 years, or nine generations, until the Meiji Restoration in 1867. The castle structures were destroyed by the Meiji government in 1872.

Visit


I visited Kururi Castle by car, leaving my vehicle at the parking lot at the foot of the hill. From the parking lot, there are two paths to the castle: a paved one and a mountain path through a forest. Of course, I chose the mountain path. The distance of one kilometre is moderate but was a good exercise for me.

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I arrived at the imitation castle tower of the main enclosure (free admission). It took approximately 30 minutes from the parking lot to here.

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The donjon was rebuilt in 1979 and is located adjacent to the original site. It is not historically accurate.
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The view from a castle tower: although there are no high mountains in Chiba, the surroundings appeared quite mountainous.

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The wells under the main enclosure measured 180cm in depth.

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It rains a lot here, and there are many springs in this area. An old inscription said that it was raining twenty-one times during its construction, on average once every three days, so the castle was called Rain Castle (雨城 U-jō). The museum in the main keep displays exhibits related to local history (free admission).

Many of the smaller enclosures around the main and the second enclosure are still visible. The photos below show the Mida, the Hatano and the Kururi enclosures.

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View from the hill onto the former third enclosure. The Otemon Gate and the samurai mansions were located there.

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Date of visit: 9 August 2013

Access:

  • Address: Kururi, Kimitsu-shi, Chiba
  • Transportation: 30 minutes from JR Kururi line Kururi station on foot
    10km from Ken-oh Expressway Kisaradu-higashi Interchange via National Route 410
  • Other sights: Mariyatsu Castle

Map:


About author
Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.

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