Saiki Castle, Oita Prefecture 佐伯城
Saiki Castle, in Saiki in Oita, Kyushu, was constructed by Mori Takamasa in 1606.
History of Saiki Castle
Mori Takamasa was given the small domain of Saiki in 1601, moving there from his lands further west in Hita. He initially based himself at Togamure Castle which had earlier withstood an attack by the Shimazu clan, who controlled all of southern Kyushu from their base in Kagoshima, but he decided to build a new castle in a better defensive position.
He chose the top of Mount Hachiman overlooking the Banjo River, though at first he had to relocate a Wakamiya Shrine from the top of the mountain which did not endear him to the local residents.
The castle, called Tsuruya Castle originally, but nowadays known as Saiki Castle was completed in 1606, and for such a small domain was relatively grand with a three storey keep and numerous turrets. Most of the castle was destroyed by fire in 1617 and so Takamasa moved to the base of the mountain.
The Mori retained control of Saiki until the Meiji Restoration.
Saiki Castle Access
On top of the mountain the stonework of the walls and keep base are in good condition, and fantastic views can be head over the town, river estuary, coast, and, weather permitting, the island of Shikoku can be seen 40 kilometers distant.
At the base of the mountain the impressive original gate still exists. Built in 1637 and renovated several times during the Edo Period, it is the only remaining structure. There is no museum, though along the base of the hill is a street of former samurai dwellings, one of which is open to the public. The grounds of the castle are very popular during the cherry blossom season.
Entry is free.
Ote-cho, Saiki-shi, Oita 876 0831
Tel: 0972 22 3111
Google map of Saiki Castle
Saiki Castle is within easy reach of Saiki Station on the Nippo Main Line. Saiki is exactly an hour from Oita Station by train.
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