Otaki Castle, Chiba.

Otaki castle museum is a small castle found in central Chiba prefecture. It is a nice site which sits in a rural area in the old Satomi Clan lands. The castle was built in the early 1500s and fell into ruins by the end of the 17th century. The castle changed hands many times but among one of the lords was famous Honda Tadakatsu, one of the Tokugawa elite generals.

The Satomi clan lineage died out in the early 1600s and the new Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu kept the lands for himself. Otaki han was a low level fief for the Tokugawa. When Honda was lord the han was worth 100,000 koku but by the Meiji Period it was only worth 20,000 koku. An example of a wealthy han such as Hiroshima had a wealth of 426,500 koku, the 6th highest in Japan at that time. In 1672 the castle was so run down that lord Abe Masaharu asked the Tokugawa Shogunate for permission to rebuild the castle which was in disrepair. It was repaired but later destroyed in a fire in 1842.

The castle we see today was built in 1975. It is not an accurate reconstruction of the original castle. I`m being a little picky here I suppose as I like to see original structures where possible. However, inside is great and has some fantastic displays and tells the history of Otaki han, which is very interesting.

Text and photos by Stuart.

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