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Castle Tsuzurao Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Tsuzurao Castle (防己尾城 Tsuzurao-jō) is located on the Western shore of Lake Koyama in modern-day Tottori City.

tsuzurao01.jpg


It was constructed in 1579 by Yoshioka Sadakatsu (吉岡定勝, 1532-1606), a vassal of the Inaba Yamana clan.

During Oda Nobunaga's campaign in Western Honshū in 1580/81, his general Hashiba Hideyoshi, later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi, besieged Tottori Castle. The castle was originally held by Yamana Toyokuni, but had been handed over to Kikkawa Tsuneie (吉川経家, 1547-1581), a retainer of the Mōri clan. Tsuneie organised the defence of Inaba, but had to surrender 200 days into the siege after the situation of the defenders had turned desperate. Tsuneie comitted suicide to save his garrison. During the siege, Yoshioka Sadakatsu harrassed Hideyoshi with surprise attacks; legend has it in one of the skirmishes Sadakatsu's brother Ukon seized Hideyoshi's umajirushi (馬印), a battle standard carried by horses.

After the fall of Tottori Castle, Tsuzurao Castle was abandonded.

The former castle site is very easy to find. It is situated right next to the parking lot at the Western side of the lake.

tsuzurao02.jpg


The hill is very small, so it was no challenge to reach its top. There are few remnants of the former enclosures.

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The view of Lake Koyama from the castle; it is a former inlet of the Sea of Japan, but became a closed lagoon after the Koyama sand dunes closed it off from the sea.

tsuzurao04.jpg


Date of visit: 14 July 2013

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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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