Miyazu-jo Castle (宮津城)

Miyazu-jo Castle is located in Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture.


The area of Miyazu, where the Kokufu (a local government of one of the ancient dynasties of Japan) was placed, had been a central city in the Tango area since ancient times. Its neighborhood was the Isshiki clan's home turf with many branch castles and forts all over the area. In 1579, Yusai HOSOKAWA and Mitsuhide AKECHI invaded Tango Province following Nobunaga's command to destroy the Isshiki clan who were former kokushu (major feudal lords). For their success, Fujitaka (Yusai) HOSOKAWA was rewarded with Tango Province, and Mitsuhide AKECHI with Tanba Province. Fujitaka first settled in Miyazu-jo Castle, but later built Tanabe-jo Castle as the center of governing Tango Province, using Miyazu-jo Castle as a branch. In 1582, after the Honnoji Incident (a battle in which Mitsuhide killed Nobunaga at Honno-ji Temple), Fujitaka devoted himself to religion and retired at Miyazu-jo Castle in order to let people know that he would not support the Akechi Family. Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, a head of the Hosokawa family, succeeded to Tanabe-jo Castle, and while Tadaoki was absent during the Aizu seibatsu (an expedition to punish and conquer Aizu), Mitsunari ISHIDA announced he would overthrow Ieyasu TOKUGAWA who was behaving in defiance of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's last will. The Hosokawa family supported the Tokugawa army because they had marital connections, but this caused Seigun (an army allied to Mitsunari) to attack the Hosokawa Family. Fujitaka, who was holding a fort, got out of Miyazu-jo Castle and his army barricaded themselves in Tanabe-jo Castle, but eventually they surrendered by order of the Emperor (the Battle of Tanabe Castle).

After the Battle of Sekigahara, the Hosokawa family was transferred to Buzen Province in Kyushu, and in place Takatomo KYOGOKU entered Tanabe-jo Castle with 123 thousand koku to govern Tango Province. Takatomo, in his later years, again moved the center of Tango from Maizuru-jo Castle to Miyazu-jo Castle, which he completely renovated. Takatomo divided Tango into three: the main domain Miyazu Domain, a branch domain Tango-Tanabe Domain, and a branch domain Mineyama Domain. Takahiro KYOGOKU, the head of Miyazu Domain, further massively renovated Miyazu-jo Castle into the castle we see today, by, for example, building seven two-storied towers at Honmaru (a main part of the castle). Some historians say Tanabe Domain and Mineyama Domain were not initially independent, but only cadet families within Miyazu Domain.

However, Kyogoku Miyazu Domain's fief was later confiscated, and the Kyogoku family became Hatamoto (a direct retainer of the shogun) in the days of the second head, Takakuni KYOGOKU. Since the Kyogoku family was a noble family, it was once Koke (a privileged family ranked higher than Hatamoto under the Tokugawa Shogunate) for a certain period. After that, ownership of the castle was transferred from one family to another, from the Nagai family to the Abe family, then the Okudaira family, and to the Aoyama family, but in 1758, Sukemasa MATSUDAIRA succeeded the castle with 770 thousand koku to keep it for seven generations until the Meiji Restoration.

Remains today
Since all of the castle building has disappeared leaving no sign of its former glory, it has little value for tourism. The only thing that remains to show that the castle existed on the site at all is the Taiko-mon (a gate that housed a drum) of Babasaki-gomon gate to the rear of municipal Miyazu Elementary School.

Also, an entrance of a samurai house in the castle was moved to Atago-jinja Shrine to build its hall of worship, which is a building in Karaha Style.

[Original Japanese]