I visited Akizuki castle ruins last Thursday. It was a nice drive from Fukuoka. The region of Asakura city quite historic and is famous for fruit picking and onsens. I haven’t done a lot of research of the area as yet. The castle is more like an estate, similar to Nijo-jo but not as big. There’s not much left of the estate but the castle town is interesting.
The Akizui clan ruled over the region from the Kamakura period (12th century) for about 400 years. In the 16th century Tanezane Akizuki came under the protection of Mori Motonari (which is interesting) as a child but later served Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi moved the Akizuki clan to Takanabe castle in Miyazaki. After Sekigahara Kuroda Nagamasa was awarded Chikuzen Province. Nagamasa gave 12,000 koku of land to his uncle Kuroda Naoyuki. When Nagamasa died he gave his 3rd son 50,000 koku land also in Chikuzen, making Chikuzen a sub-region of Fukuoka.
The estate was built in 1623 and became Nagaoki’s retirement villa. It’s an interesting connection with the powerful Fukuoka lords of Kyushu. Also, the connection with the Mori and then Hideyoshi is something I’d like to research some more. One great point is the restored samurai estate of the Hisano who were retainers of Kuroda Nagaoki. It is well restored and has a nice little museum. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed in that museum section but there is a lot of interesting family memorabilia which shows the life of a samurai family.
Text and photos by Stuart