Kurume Castle Ruins, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu – Pictorial

Over a period of a few hundred years there were thousands of castles built in Japan. In Fukuoka Prefecture only, over 800 castles are recorded to have been built. Good for those of you who are castle fans as you can pretty much find a castle or castle ruin anywhere in Japan. Well, except for Hokkaido, which only has a couple. Anyway, I live in Kyushu, we have a few nice castles and ruins but most are long forgotten, overgrown with weeds, crumbling walls and most are in places which are not easily accessed.

So if you happen to stumble on a ruins, get in there and check it out, it is well worth the effort to find a piece of ancient Japanese history.

Today I will introduce Kurume Castle which is located about 35km south of Fukuoka City.

I haven`t done any research on this site myself so I have borrowed the following from the Kurume Tourism web site. Enjoy!

The Arima Clan reigned over the Kurume area as domain lords for about 250 years during the Edo Era (1603 – 1868) and resided in what at that time was called Sasayama Castle. While only the castle keep built in Hirayama style remains today, the splendid castle walls and inner moats at the entrance remind visitors to the Kurume Castle Ruins of its majestic, bygone figure. In addition, visitors will find Sasayama Shrine (dedicated to the first Kurume domain lord, Arima Toyoji) and the Arima Memorial Museum (which mainly displays materials related to the Kurume domain with a focus on the armor of successive lords, craftworks, and other effects of the Arima Clan) on the premises.

Kurume Castle was built on a hilly mountain along the Chikugo River in the Hirayama Castle style, and samurai Mori Hidekane moved into the castle in 1587 by an order (the so-called “Kyushu Kuniwari”) of then imperial regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This was the beginning of modern feudal lords’ residence in the castle. In 1601, warlord Tanaka Yoshimasa succeeded the Mori Clan because of his achievements in the Battle of Sekigahara and became feudal lord of the Chikugo Domain; his second son, Norimasa became the Kurume Domain lord, moving into Kurume Castle. After the extinction of the Tanaka Clan in 1621, Arima Toyoji became a feudal lord of five counties in Chikugo, and Kurume Castle became the center of feudal reign until the end of the Edo Era (1868). As soon as Arima Toyoji arrived in Kurume, he ordered the major renovation of Kurume Castle. The main gate (which faced East during the reigns of the Mori and Tanaka Clans) was rebuilt to face South, and a castle with a Renwa-style structure (layering three walls from north to south) was built in front of it. As for the approximate range of the ruins, the eastern boundary is in the area around the northern part of Kurume City Hall where the outer moats that separate the castle walls and the town run, while the southern boundary is the forest and trench behind the court.

On March 19, 1983, the castle ruins were designated a Municipal Designated Cultural Asset. In the Spring, the cherry blossoms of 30 trees add color to the tranquil presence of the splendid castle walls and moats, bathing the area in light pink. Cherry Blossoms at the Castle Ruins: Yoshino Cherry (Someiyoshino), Yamazakura; about 300 trees Blooming Season: Late March – Early April.

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