Nakatsu Castle, Oita, Kyushu

I finally got around to editing the photos from my trip to Oita earlier this year. Here is Nakatsu castle. It’s not a bad castle to visit. Lots of history here too. It’s small enough to walk around in about an hour and the museum inside is alright. Not enough English unfortunately. For me, the connections between Nakatsu, Kokura, Fukuoka and Kumamoto castles is very interesting. The Kuroda and Hosokawa families were certainly the leaders in northern Kyushu.

The castle was founded in 1588 by lord Kuroda Yoshitaka one of the great warriors who served Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Nakatsu Kuroda went on to also built Fukuoka castle.

After the battle of Sekigahara Kuroda was replaced with Hosokawa Tadaoki who expanded Nakatsu castle even further. In some of the photos you can see where the ishigaki (wall) has been redeveloped. However, this was only for a short time as Hosokawa was moved to Kokura castle as a reward for his services to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hosokawa Tadaoki’s son would eventually become lord of Kumamoto castle.

In 1632 Ogasawara Nagatsugu was transferred to Nakatsu castle and the family continued to rule until 1716. The final family to rule Nakatsu castle was the Okudaira who did until the end of the Edo period.

In 1871 the castle was abandoned when the old Edo period ‘Han’ system was abolished and in 1877 most of the castle was destroyed during the Seinan war (Satsuma Rebellion).

The current main tower we see today was built in 1964 and was modelled on Hagi castle as the original tower design is unknown. There are a few other discrepancies with old maps of the castle grounds which I will cover in the captions.

This is the map that shows points of interest that asks questions about how the castle complex looked in the past.

Text and photos by Stuart.

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