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Travel Shakujii Castle

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This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Shakujii Castle (石神井城 Shakujii-jō) was located in what is nowadays Shakujii Park in Nerima Ward, western Tokyo. It was constructed in the late Kamakura Period (1185-1333) by the Toshima clan (豊島氏), very likely on older structures dating back to the Heian Period.

I visited the castle grounds, coming from Kami-Shakujii station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line. I had been walking through a calm residential area for about 20 minutes, crossing the Shakujii River (石神井川) which was the castle's southern line of defence, passing Hikawa Shrine. The shrine, constructed by the Toshima clan, is located at the outer perimeter of the former castle grounds.

This is also where the outer bailey was situated, but quite disappointingly nothing but the old moat remains.

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Shakujii Castle is on the top of a small hill located between Sanbōji Pond in the north and Shakujii River in the south.

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(The map is based on the Tokyo Terrain Map powered by gridscapes.net )

View from Sanbōji Pond onto the former site of the castle.

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As it was not built on high grounds, the castle did not seem impregnable.

The Teruhime Festival would be held the next day (usually on the fourth Sunday in April), so a few people clad in historical garments rehearsed for the spectacle. Teruhime was the daughter of Toshima Yasutsune (豊島泰経). When Yasutsune was attacked and defeated by Ōta Dōkan (太田道灌, 1432-1486), a vassal of the Uesugi, Shakujii Castle fell. Yasutsune died on 28 April 1477. According to legend, Teruhime drowned herself in Sanbōji Pond, following her father into death. The Toshima vanished from history.

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(Date of visit: 27 Apr 2013)

Access Information:
  • Address: Shakujii-dai, Nerima-ku, Tokyo (Map)
  • Transportation: 15 minutes from Seibu-Ikebukuro Line, Shakujii-koen station (SI10) on foot
  • Other sights: Shakujii Park Furusato-kan Ikebuchi Historic Park


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

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