Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

       
Castles of the Samurai: Power and Beauty Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877

Karatsu Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady

唐津藩

Karatsu Domain


寺沢氏
1600 - 1647

Terasawa Clan

123,000 Koku

大久保氏
1649 - 1678

Ōkubo Clan

83,000 Koku

松平 (大給)
1678 - 1691

Matsudaira (Ogyū) Clan

70,000 Koku

土井氏
1691 - 1762

Doi Clan

70,000 Koku

水野氏
1762 - 1817

Mizuno Clan

60,000 Koku

小笠原氏
1817 - 1871

Ogasawara  Clan

60,000 Koku

唐津城
Karatsu Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Renkakushiki), and is located in Saga Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Hizen Province. It is associated with the Terazawa, Ogasawara clans. Dates in use: 1602 - 1871.

A concrete reconstruction, but it looks the part on a hill overlooking the ocean. The original castle was built using materials from the dismantled Hizen Nagoya Castle after Hideyoshi's failed Korean invasion. Inside the keep the are many items on display relating to the ruling families & local history. The Tatsumi turret & the clock tower were both built in the 1990's.

There isn't anything too special about this reconstruction. It certainly looks the part having had all of the buildings of the main enclosure rebuilt but its design is based on whimsy & not historical documents. What we can look at with interest is its topography. The small fortified peninsular protects a small harbour, the preferred setup in the castles of the Korean invasion.

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Timeline

1585 Toyotomi Hideyoshi's retainer, Terasawa Hirotaka, was stationed here.
1600 Terasawa's lands were expanded (83,000 koku to 123,000 koku) after supporting the Tokugawa at the time of Sekigahara by attacking Gifu castle.
1602 Construction of Karatsu castle was commenced and was completed in 1608.
1627 A Shogunate record states that a keep didn't exist.
1647 Control of this castle & fief by the Terasawa clan ceased.
1649 The Okubo clan were awarded this castle and lands worth 83,000 koku.
1678 The Matsudaira clan took over with lands worth 70,000 koku and by the end of the Matsudaira reign, 60,000 koku.
1691 Next was the Doi clan with 4 generations of Doi Daimyō.
1762 The Mizuno clan were then Daimyō here for 4 generations.
1817 The final clan to rule were the Ogasawara. They ruled here until the introduction of the prefectural system was introduced in 1871.
1877 The castle's lands were turned into Maizuru park.
1966 A Keicho period (1596-1615) style keep was built using concrete.
1989 The Higo-moat of the secondary enclosure (Ni-no-maru) was rebuilt.
1992 A clock tower, the Toki no Taiko, was rebuilt.
1993 The Tatsumi turret was rebuilt.
2011 Major repairs of the stonework & buildings of the main enclosure commenced.