Okazaki Castle (岡崎城, Okazaki-jō) is a
Japanese castle located
Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. At the end of the
Okazaki Castle was home to the Honda clan, daimyō of Okazaki Domain,
but the castle is better known for its association with Tokugawa
Ieyasu and the Tokugawa clan. The castle was also known as "Tatsu-jō
4 External links
Saigo Tsugiyori built an earthen-walled fortification in the Myodaiji
area of Okazaki, near the present castle in 1455. Matsudaira Kiyoyasu,
after gaining control of the area in 1524, demolished the old
fortification and built
Okazaki Castle on its present location. His
famous grandson Matsudaira Motoyasu (later named Tokugawa Ieyasu) was
born here on December 16, 1542. The Matsudaira were defeated by the
Imagawa clan in 1549, and Ieyasu was taken to
Sunpu Castle as a
hostage. Following the defeat of the Imagawa at the Battle of
Okehazama, Ieyasu regained possession of the castle in 1560 and left
his eldest son
Matsudaira Nobuyasu in charge when he moved to
Hamamatsu Castle in 1570. After
Oda Nobunaga ordered Nobuyasu’s
death in 1579, the
Honda clan served as castellans. Following the
relocation of the Tokugawa to
Edo after the Battle of Odawara by
Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the castle was given to Tanaka Yoshimasa, who
substantially improved on its fortifications, expanded the castle town
Okazaki-juku on the Tōkaidō.
Following the creation of the Tokugawa shogunate,
Okazaki Domain was
created, and Ieyasu’s close retainer
Honda Yasushige was assigned
possession of the castle. A three-story donjon was completed in 1617.
The Honda were replaced by the
Mizuno clan from 1645-1762, and the
Matsudaira (Matsui) clan from 1762-1769. In 1769, a branch of the
Honda clan returned to Okazaki, and governed until the Meiji
In 1869, the final daimyō of Okazaki Domain, Honda Tadanao,
Okazaki Castle to the new Meiji government. With the
abolition of the han system in 1871,
Okazaki Domain became part of
Nukata Prefecture, with
Okazaki Castle used as the prefectural
Nukata Prefecture was merged into Aichi
Prefecture in 1872, and the capital of the prefecture was moved to
Nagoya. In accordance with government directives in 1873, the castle
was demolished, and most of its land sold off to private individuals.
The current donjon was reconstructed in 1959 to boost local tourism.
In 2006, it was proclaimed one of the 100 Fine Castles of Japan. The
ferroconcrete structure has three roofs and five interior floors, and
contains exhibits of artifacts from the original castle, Japanese
swords, armor and dioramas illustrating local history. The Main Gate
of the castle was reconstructed in 1993, and the east corner yagura in
In 2007, construction work near the castle revealed stonework from the
castle’s outer baileys, lending evidence to the claim that Okazaki
Castle was once the fourth largest in Japan.
The area around the castle is now a park, with a museum dedicated to
the life of
Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Mikawa samurai, teahouses, a Noh
theater, a small clock tower with traditional karakuri puppets, and an
impressive main gate. The park is also renowned as a famous site for
viewing cherry blossoms, wisteria and azalea.
Okazaki Flower Festival
Okazaki Flower Festival
Detail view of Okazaki castle
Statue of Tokugawa Ieyasu
Schmorleitz, Morton S. (1974). Castles in Japan. Tokyo: Charles E.
Tuttle Co. pp. 144–145. ISBN 0-8048-1102-4.
Motoo, Hinago (1986). Japanese Castles. Tokyo: Kodansha. p. 200
pages. ISBN 0-87011-766-1.
Mitchelhill, Jennifer (2004). Castles of the Samurai: Power and
Beauty. Tokyo: Kodansha. p. 112 pages.
Turnbull, Stephen (2003). Japanese Castles 1540-1640. Osprey
Publishing. p. 64 pages. ISBN 1-84176-429-9.
JNTO home page
Okazaki Castle Jcastle Profile
Okazaki Castle home page
Japan Castle Explorer
^ Yūkyū Rōman Pamphlet (English), City of Okazaki Tourism
Division/Okazaki Tourism Association
100 Fine Castles of
Japan by region
Nemuro Peninsula Chashiato
a including Okinawa.
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