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Hamamatsu Castle: The castle where Tokugawa Ieyasu began his rise to Castle of promotion

Hamamatsu Castle is where Tokugawa Ieyasu spent 17 years from the age of 29 to 45.

Located on the south-eastern edge of the Mikatahara Plateau in Hamamatsu, the castle is an early modern ladder-shaped fortress that extends from the Tenshu bailey through the Honmaru, Second and Third baileys.

Hamamatsu Castle is also known as ‘Success Castle‘ because not only did Tokugawa Ieyasu take over the castle, but those who became lords of Hamamatsu Castle later rose through the ranks to become roju of the shogunate.

Another nameShusse (Success) castle
Castle siteflatland-mountain castle
Type of tenshuMock Tenshu made of reinforced concrete
Form of tenshuwatchtower style
Number of floors of the tenshuThree floors and four steps
Type of territoryLadder style (however, during the Ieyasu period, it was a continuous wall system)
Stone wallrubblework
First castle builderTokugawa Ieyasu
castellation date of first castleabout 1570
BushotaiHamamatsu Tokugawa Bushoutai

The tenshu was already lost in the early Edo period (1603-1867), so this is a mock-up, as it is not known what the tenshu actually looked like.

As the place where Ieyasu, who later founded the Tokugawa Shogunate, spent time, Hamamatsu is home to many legends related to Ieyasu.

The present Hamamatsu Castle is a modern castle renovated by the feudal lord Toyotomi, Yoshiharu Horio. It is not an Ieyasu-era castle. The remains of a moat and other structures have been discovered and the appearance of the castle in the Ieyasu period is being clarified.

The castles of the Ieyasu period were earthen fortresses consisting of moats and earthworks that took advantage of the natural terrain, such as swamps and hills.

Attractions of Hamamatsu Castle based on my own judgement and prejudices

  • Home base where Tokugawa Ieyasu spent his prime years.
  • By far the easiest to get to due to its location in urban Hamamatsu.

Composition and highlights of Hamamatsu Castle

Hamamatsu Castle, along with Odawara Castle in the Hojo period, Edo Castle, Himeji Castle, Toyotomi Osaka Castle, Okazaki Castle and Yoshida Castle, was one of the most extensive castles in the area.

Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu

It has become much smaller with the town hall, schools and residential areas.

Hamamatsu Castle is huge, but its buildings are of poor quality.

Hamamatsu Castle Park Map

It is now maintained as Hamamatsu Castle Park and is a place of recreation and relaxation for local residents.

城主 城山塔子

People are walking their dogs, jogging, walking, and enjoying ……. A variety of people enjoy the park.

Let’s go from the parking lot to the keep.

Stone wall of Hamamatsu Castle

The stone walls of Hamamatsu Castle are rubblework, which was popular in the early Sengoku period.

It was thought that the castle’s stone walls were built during the Horio clan’s reign, but excavations have uncovered stone walls from the time when Tokugawa Ieyasu was the lord of the castle.

During Ieyasu’s era, not all of the castle was built with stone walls; some parts were stone walls and others were conventional earthen walls.


The stones used are the same as those used at Futamata Castle and Yoshida Castle in Mikawa.

This is because the same siliceous rock formation extends from Okuhamana Lake to the northwest.

Inner bailey (Honnmaru)

The current inner bailey has been lowered in the eastern half, the stone walls are gone, and some areas have been paved over with asphalt.

The moat bordering second bailey has also been filled in.

The area of the inner bailey was large and was called Senjojiki, or “thousand-tatami mats.

Statue of Ieyasu in the inner bailey

When Ieyasu lived at Hamamatsu Castle, he lived in the inner bailey.

Since the inner bailey was for the Shogun’s lodging, the lord of the castle lived in second bailey(now Hamamatsu City Hall). However, since the shogun no longer traveled down the Tokaido after Iemitsu’s arrival in Kyoto, the inner bailey lost its importance, and at some point it was torn down and the site became vacant.

From the Fujimi Tower (Fujimi Yagura)

As the name “Fujimi Tower” suggests, on a fine day, Mt. Fuji can be seen. This is the location where a single-story gabled storehouse, which is not a turret in name only, stood.

城主 城山塔子

Although a Fujimi-tower is generally two or more stories high, Hamamatsu Castle was called a Fujimi-tower because even though it was one story high, it could be seen clearly because of its location.

Black Iron Gate (Kurogane-mon)

The main entrance to Hamamatsu Castle used to be a gate called Black-Iron-Gate. The building was disposed of during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and is no longer visible.

Only feudal lords were allowed to have black iron gates. However, it is not at the level of a castle that could be set up, considering the stone value of the Hamamatsu clan, but this is probably because Hamamatsu Castle was regarded as such a prestigious castle.

Hishi Tower (Hishi Yagura)

It was called a Hishitower because its plane was distorted into a trapezoidal shape. During the Edo period, this was the only double storey of Hamamatsu Castle, and was the face of Hamamatsu Castle in place of the castle tower.


There are other routes to the castle tower area, but we should still go through the tenshu gate.

Tenshu gate (Tenshu-mon)

The project to restore the Tenshu gate was undertaken to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Hamamatsu Castle’s municipal administration.

Beyond the donjonr gate is the tenshu bailey, where the tenshu mounting is located.


Mirror stone (Kagamiishi) at Hamamatsu Tenshu gate

Large stones intentionally placed on either side of the gate to show the power of the lord of the castle.

Tenshu of Hamamatsu Castle

The donjon of Hamamatsu Castle is a mock tenshu.

The tenshu was lost at an early stage, so we do not know what it really looked like.

However, it is clear from the tenshu mounting that it was larger than the current tenshu.

城主 城山塔子

Can you see the extra donjon mounting on the left?

For more information about the donjon of Hamamatsu Castle, please click here.

During the reign of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the donjon did not yet exist.

“Hamamatsu-Tokugawa Bushotai” Military Commanders of Hamamatsu Castle

Hamamatsu Tokugawa Bushoutai

Every Sunday, for 40 minutes from 1:00 to 1:40 p.m., the Shusse-Daimyo Ieyasu-kun and the Shusse-Houshi Naotora-chan will appear at Hamamatsu Castle together with a group of Bushotai.

It is usually located in the inner bailey of Hamamatsu Castle, but during the renovation of Hamamatsu Castle (until December 20, 2022), it appeared in the “Central Lawn Plaza”.

You can take a picture with them.

Hamamatsu Tokugawa Busyoutai’s official website

Now, please join me, everyone. They snapped a photo with a shout of

城主 城山塔子

More great success!!

I hope I get a big success.


Gardens of Hamamatsu Castle
城主 城山塔子

If the season is right, you can enjoy the autumn leaves.

The gardens of Hamamatsu Castle are not large.

Some places represent the flow of the Tenryu River or waterfalls, but the water does not always flow.

The garden was built in a valley, and the path leading to the garden was set at an angle on a steep cliff, suggesting that it may have served as a moat in times of emergency. That may have served as a moat in times of emergency.

Hamamatsu Castle official website

Where can you find the castle tokens and stamps of Hamamatsu Castle?

Hamamatsu Castle Token and Token Book

The castle tokens are sold at the souvenir shop in the tenshu.

Various limited-time-only castle tokens are sometimes sold, but I purchased the normal castle tokens.

In many cases, the date of entry must be entered by the visitor, but in the case of Hamamatsu Castle, the token was dated.

城主 城山塔子

Hoping for a good career, I also bought a Hamamatsu Castle tokens book by the way.

Stamp of Hamamatsu Castle is by the tenshu gate

The stamp stand of Hamamatsu Castle is located at the second floor entrance of the tenshu gate.

Hamamatsu Castle is No. 148, so buy “Sequel to the 100 Great Castles of Japan”.

Stamp books for the 100 best castles in Japan are available at the souvenir shop in the tenshu.

¥1,100 (2023/11/26 13:54時点 | Amazon調べ)

History of Hamamatsu Castle

Hamamatsu City Official Video

Hamamatsu developed as an inn town at Hikuma-shuku. The Shugo of the Totomi area changed to Imagawa, Shiba, and Imagawa, and the town took on the characteristics of a castle town as warlords and feudal lords entered the area to take advantage of the inn’s market.

Hamamatsu Castle itself was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the castle town was expanded and improved in the Edo period.

Hamamatsu, where Ieyasu spent 17 years of his life, has many places and traditions associated with Ieyasu.

From “Hikuma Castle” to “Hamamatsu Castle”

On the site of what is now Toshogu Shrine, there was Hikuma Castle, the predecessor of Hamamatsu Castle.

It is not certain when Hikima Castle was built, but castles were often built along roads to protect the roadside.

Click here to learn more about Hikima Castle.

The name “Hamamatsu” comes from the name of an old manor.

December 1568

Ieyasu, 27 years old, enters Totomi via the Kohoku route, where many of the Tokugawa faction’s nationals are located.

Initially, the castle was to be based at Jonosaki Castle in Mitsuke, Iwata City. Yasuda Yoshisada served as provincial governor, but Ieyasu took it and began to rebuild it into a strong castle.

Kinosaki castle

Kinosaki castle was located in the area of the current Shiroyama Ballpark and Shiroyama Junior High School, but no trace of it remains.

However, because the castle lacked water supply, and the Tenryu River was a barrier when requesting reinforcements from Nobunaga, the castle was moved to Hamamatsu during the construction of Mitsuke Castle.


Surrounding Kakegawa Castle, Ieyasu surrendered Imagawa Ujizane and brought the area under his control, nearly leveling the Totomi region.

Construction of a new castle (Hamamatsu Castle) begins while living in Hikima Castle. It will be transformed into a group of castles, including Hikima Castle.

As his territory expanded eastward and came into contact with the sphere of influence of Takeda Shingen, Ieyasu turned over Okazaki Castle to his son Nobuyasu and moved his headquarters to Hamamatsu Castle.


Ieyasu entered Hamamatsu Castle. At this time, the name was changed from “Hikima Castle” to “Hamamatsu Castle.

Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu

It was the year of the Battle of Anegawa, and it was difficult to move in while fighting the battle.

Why did you change the name from Hikima Castle to Hamamatsu Castle?

Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu

The name was changed to “Hamamatsu” because “pulling a horse” in “Hikima” means defeat, which is a bad omen.

It is said that Nobunaga changed the name of the castle from “Inabayama Castle” to “Gifu Castle” and Ieyasu also imitated him and changed the name from “Hikima Castle” to “Hamamatsu Castle.

Battle of Mikatagahara

The battle that took place near Hamamatsu Castle is said to be the greatest defeat in Ieyasu’s life, the Battle of Mikatagahara.

Takeda Shingen launched a campaign to the west, felled Futamata Castle, and passed through the Mikatahara plateau as if to lure Ieyasu out.

Since Hamamatsu Castle was said to be an impregnable and robust castle, it is believed that they lured him into a field battle instead of a siege.

The exact location of where the battle of Mikatagahara took place is actually not known, but it is thought to be in the area centered around Nearai-cho.

城主 城山塔子

It is only 10 km away from Hamamatsu Castle. If the Takeda forces were approaching within a stone’s throw of us, we would have no choice but to send out our forces.

The folklore associated with the Battle of Mikatahara is unique in that it is preserved in the names of places.

  • Azukimochi餅
  • Zenitori
  • Nunohashi

At elementary school arts and crafts festivals and athletic meets in Hamamatsu, there are sometimes performances inspired by the Battle of Mikatagahara.

To the castle of the daimyo on Toyotomi’s side

When Tokugawa Ieyasu was relocated to the Kanto region, Hideyoshi placed Toyotomi’s feudal lords along the Tokaido to block Ieyasu.

  • Sunpu Castle: Nakamura Kazuuji
  • Kakegawa Castle : Yamauchi Kazutoyo
  • Hamamatsu Castle: Horio Yoshiharu
  • Yokosukao Castle: Osuka Yasutaka
  • Kuno Castle
  • Sammaibashi Castle (Numazu Old Castle)

The Toyotomi lords renovated Ieyasu’s castle into a modern castle with a configuration similar to that of Toyotomi Osaka Castle.

It is closer to what is generally imagined of a castle.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Hurry up to build a stone walled castle with tiled buildings.

Due to a lack of tile craftsmen, the roof tiles were all the same in the castles mentioned above. The tiles used in the abandoned Omi castle are also reused. As for the stone walls, however, they are made of stones available within each territory.

城主 城山塔子

People must have been quite surprised at that time when they first saw a castle with tiled roof and stone walls. This is a symbol of power!

Castellan of Hamamatsu Castle

Hamamatsu has only about 50,000 koku.

Although Hamamatsu Castle is only 50,000 koku, it is also known as the “success castle” because many of the castle lords who were assigned to Hamamatsu Castle subsequently rose to become senior superiors in the shogunate.

The lord of Hamamatsu Castle was often in Edo as an Roju, and was rarely in Hamamatsu.

城主 城山塔子

The So-Called Elite Course of the Edo Bakufu. It is no wonder that the area was popular among the feudal lords as a place of posting, despite its low monetary value.

One of the most famous is Mizuno Tadakuni. He is the person who carried out the Tempo Reforms.

Mizuno Tadakuni

The Mizuno family is descended from the lineage of the Ōdai-no-kata, who gave birth to Ieyasu.

Before coming to Hamamatsu Castle, he was the lord of Karatsu Castle, which was considered rich but not successful. He tried various means, including bribing his way to become the lord of Hamamatsu Castle on his way up the career ladder.

Although the Karatsu domain was rich, it appears to have had quite a bad reputation, as its people suffered because of the bribe funds needed to become the lord of Hamamatsu Castle.

In order to become the lord of Hamamatsu Castle, he made various plans.

Even after becoming lord of Hamamatsu Castle,

  • reforms of the domain government.
  • taking of royalty money from the fiefdom
  • overdraft of debt

then he had a bad reputation even in Hamamatsu.

In the name of political restructuring, the people suffered from oppression.

However, he has become the lord of Hamamatsu Castle on the elite course, he was subsequently promoted to the position of Osaka Castle Chief, Kyoto Tokorojiro, and Roju.

He was a promoter of the Tenpo Reforms, but after the reforms failed, he was forced to retire with a reduced seal.

Damage from the Ansei Earthquake (1854)

Both Hamamatsu Castle and the castle town were severely damaged in the Ansei Earthquake.

  • Uzumi gate: Totally destroyed including earthen walls
  • Hishi Yagura: All the walls fall down and the stone walls bulge here and there.
  • Fujimi Yagura:serious damage
  • Back gate: partial destruction
  • Second bailey (Ninomaru): complete destruction

The inner bailey and the tenshu bailey also suffered some damage to the stonewalls, but most of the damage was south from second bailey. The damage was concentrated in that area because it was a swampy area and the ground was poor.

Hamamatsu Castle after the Meiji period

The tenshu mounting was disposed of in 1872 as a result of an ordinance to abolish castles.

There was an observatory and a watchtower until the Taisho period.

城主 城山塔子

When I was a child, Hamamatsu Castle had a zoo.

著:城郭遺産による街づくり協議会, 著:小和田 哲男, 著:加藤 理文, 著:中井 均, 著:三浦 正幸, 著:宮下 英樹, 編集:城郭遺産による街づくり協議会
¥2,706 (2023/11/27 10:49時点 | Amazon調べ)

Access to Hamamatsu Castle

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