Nakatsu Castle

Nakatsu Castle 中津城

Jake Davies

Also known as Ogi Castle, the castle in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture is classified as one of the three great "water castles" of Japan, along with Imabari Castle and Takamatsu Castle in Shikoku, because of its use of the sea as part of its defensive structure.

Nakatsu Castle.
The reconstructed keep of Nakatsu Castle in Oita Prefecture

History of Nakatsu Castle

Construction of Nakatsu Castle was begun in 1587 by Kuroda Yoshitaka, but following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, he was awarded a larger fief in Fukuoka and Nakatsu Castle was completed by his replacement Hosokawa Tadaoki who also built Kokura Castle.

In 1632 the Ogasawara clan were given Nakatsu Castle and they stayed until 1717 when they were replaced by the Okudaira who remained in charge until the abandonment of the castle in 1871 when the domains were abolished by the new Meiji Government.

In 1877 the castle was burned down by local samurai during the Seinan War, more popularly known as Saigo's rebellion.

The current concrete reconstruction of the 5 storeyed keep was built in 1964. As no images or plans of the castle existed, Nakatsu was modelled on the keep of Hagi Castle.

Nakatsu Castle, Oita, Japan.
A view of the natural moats of Nakatsu Castle
Nakatsu Castle roof in detail.
Nakatsu Castle reflected in its moat

The top floor of Nakatsu Castle is an observation deck with nice views over the town and down the coast.

The rest of Nakatsu Castle houses a museum with the usual collection of armour, weapons, roof tiles, photographs but as Nakatsu was a center of rangaku (Dutch Learning) there is also a lot of materials on that.

Nakatsu Castle
1273 Ninocho, Nakatsu-shi, Oita 871-0050
Admission: free for grounds; 400 yen for the castle museum; 150 yen for children
Hours: 9am-5pm
Tel: 0979 22 3651

Nakatsu Castle Access

Nakatsu Castle is located about a 15 minute walk from JR Nakatsu Station on the Nippo Main Line between Kokura city in Kitakyushu and Kagoshima. If coming by car exit the highway at Kokura Higashi IC and follow National Highway 10, then Prefectural Highway 108.

Nakatsu Castle grounds and shrine, Japan.
A Shinto Shrine in the grounds of Nakatsu Castle in Oita Prefecture
Nakatsu Castle, Oita, Japan.
Nakatsu Castle Museum in Kyushu

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