Inoue-jo Castle (井上城)

Inoue-jo Castle was a castle in what is currently Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture.


The castle is said to have been built by Hidetsuna (栄綱) TSUCHIMOCHI at the end of the 12th century or Kunitsuna (国綱) TSUCHIMOCHI at the end of the 13th century ("Enryo Kyuki" (Ancient Record of Nobeoka domain), "Enryo Seikan" (History of Nobeoka domain)). However, it is difficult to believe that Tsuchimochi clan occupied this castle in this region of warring factions around the 12th to 13th centuries as between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century this area (Misu, Miwa, Tsunetomi districts; these were formerly known as Agata no sho (manor) occupied by Usamiya and Niina no sho (manor) of Yose Gori occupied by Shimazu) was occupied by Kadokawa Ito clan (in Agata no sho) and Chikayoshi NAKAHARA (in Niina no sho) who held the position of Chinzei Bugyo (Defense Commissioner of the West) and Bungo Shugo (the Governor of Bungo Province) as well as a close retainer of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo; and the area in Nobeoka (then Agata-Nobeoka) occupied by Tsuchimochi clan was limited to Okatomi no sho (manor) in Usamiya, north of the Gokase-gawa River ("Kenkyuzudencho" (cadaster of domains, established by the order of Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun)).

As it is believed that Tsuchimochi clan's expansion of territory into this region south of the Gokase-gawa River and the Ose-gawa River came with acquisition of half of Agata no sho by Hidenobu (栄宣) TSUCHIMOCHI in 1336 ('Tanabe clan Tree'), it is therefore reasonable to consider that Tsuchimochi clan occupied the castle some time after the first quarter of the 14th century. However, when it comes to the first builder, it is absolutely unknown, and rather if we were to guess, it could be someone related to Kadokawa Ito clan who occupied Agata no sho, however it is also necessary to consider the relationship with the 'Furushiro' (Old Castle), 'Nakano-jo Castle' or 'Naka no shiro Castle' mentioned later, as well as that this area was called 'Hon-mura' (main village) until recently.

A castle with a terraced structure can be clearly seen on a Meiji period cadastral map on the small hill in the area called 'Furushiro', on the western side of Nobeoka High School run by Miyazaki Prefecture however currently it is being gradually destroyed by encroaching housing developments. It is thought that the local area name of 'Furushiro' originates not with the Inoue-jo Castle remains but with this castle, and it is quite likely that the older castle was used as an outpost of the Inoue-jo Castle.

The region from Tsunetomi and Atago to the east of Inoue-jo Castle remains to Idekita is a plain which developed as a backmarsh or alluvial lowland of the Gokase-gawa River and the Ose-gawa River and cadastral maps from the Meiji period show the paddies developed along the meandering course of the old rivers in the vicinity of the Kasuga-jinja Shrine. Also, in the latter half of the 17th century, a river ran eastwards between the north side of Mt. Atago and Kasuga-jinja Shrine, and this is also drawn in 'Nobeoka Jokazu Byobu' (Folding Screen of Nobeoka-jo Castle Map) and it may have flowed into 'the Hozai Inlet' which has been a natural port since the Yayoi and Kofun periods. Furthermore, it can be seen from the "Arima Kachu Nobeoka Joka Yashiki tsuki Ezu" (Arima Family Nobeoka-jo Castle Residential Drawing) (held by Meiji University) that the area in between Inoue-jo Castle and Furushiro and to the east of Inoue-jo Castle, is spotted with swamps thought to be ponds left over from the changing course of the rivers.

This was the situation at the time, and in the Middle Ages the 'Nakano-jo Castle' or 'Naka no shiro Castle,' presumed to be a square residence on the plain, existed in the Tsunetomi and Idekita areas. In this picture, the residence of Minbu ARIMA (有馬民部), the Chief Retainer of the Arima family is drawn in the area of Idekita, and it is presumed that there was some connection with the 'Naka no shiro Castle' thought to have been destroyed by factory developments after the Tasho period.

Moreover, in the Tsunetomi and Atago area, many regional names derived from temples which no longer exist, including Seikoji, Wagoji, Wahoji, Kofukuji, Riseiji and Tanaka Sosenji (田中惣泉寺) (possibly the site of 'Tanaka Yakushi' in "Enryo Seikan") dot an area within a mere one kilometer square and this combined with the castle remains provide important clues along with the trends in influence in the Nobeoka district from ancient times until the period of clan government.


The castle was located on an important path for travelers on a road which met what was the main path and the Ose-gawa River crossing from the east until the Middle Ages, with the road coming from Ifukugata no sho (伊福形荘) of Yose Gori, occupied by Shimazu going to Misu via Kono. The castle area covers the whole of Mt. Tenshu, occupying an area 100 to 200 meters wide and 600 meters long in a North-east to South-west direction.

The castle area is thought to cover the several hilly areas in the north-east section as well as the apartments in the south-west, and the Daishogun-jinja Shrine on the shore of the Ose-gawa River is thought to be an outpost with Horikiri in between. On the western perimeter of the apartments in the south-west of the castle area can be found Homei-ji (法明寺) Temple which has a tombstone of Shigetsugu (栄続) TSUCHIMOCHI (his homyo (a name given to a person who enters the Buddhist priesthood) was 'Hazuki Gyokuko Daizenmon,' from "Kagoshima Tsuchimochi Keizu" (Kagoshima Tsuchimochi Family Tree)) who was dispatched to give New Year Greetings to Yoshihisa SHIMAZU on February 18, 1578 after the takeover of the Shimazu alliance from the Otomo alliance.

The height above sea level of what is thought to be the highest point of the main building is 68.4m and the relative elevation is 60m. The structure includes many small defensive areas connected by dirt bridges in the southern half and other devices in the northern half of the territory however there are virtually no earthen mounds or moats.

Currently the site has a park, cemetery, cedar forest and the southern part has a mixed forest, and the state of preservation of the site is fairly good. However, with town development and development of the Atago roads, housing is being built and several hilly areas which were thought to be outposts of the castle between the north of the castle and Nobeoka High School have been destroyed.

[Original Japanese]