Shiroishi Castle 白石城
Founder Gamo Ujisato
Gamo2
Year 1591
Type Hilltop
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Masuoka-jo
Reconstructed 1995 (wood)
Structure 3 levels, 3 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Location Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Shiroishi Station (Tohoku Honsen), 10 minute walk
Website Shiroishi City
Visited October 1997
Notes
History

The area of Shiroishi was under the control of Date Masamune until 1591. In that year it was seized by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and bestowed upon Gamo Ujisato along with Tsuruga-jo (Wakamatsu). Gamo then constructed this castle at Shiroishi under control from Wakamatsu.

Soon after the battle of Sekigahara (1600) Date Masamunue re-invaded this area and stationed his relative Katakura Kojuro at Shiroishi-jo. After the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, they created a law which allowed for only one castle in each province. The area of Shiroishi was techinically in the province controlled from Sendai which already had a castle. The Katakura family, however, received special permission to retain their castle at Shiroishi and the descendents of Katakura Kojuro controlled Shiroishi-jo until the Meiji Restoration. It was eventually torn down during the second year of Meiji (1867).

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Comment on this castle
  • Eric    March 06, 2017 at 10:37 PM
    I think Ozu Castle in Ehime has an even better claim to the largest authentic wooden reconstruction.
  • ART    March 06, 2017 at 09:37 PM
    Largest authentic reconstruction? Not disagreeing but that requires clarifying. Kakegawa Castle, for example, might disagree. But I went to kakegawa Castle and they think they're the oldest Post-War wooden reconstruction, dating to 1994. It's even on the english wiki for the castle. But I've been to Shirakawa Castle, reconstructed in 1991, and it's definitely made out of wood. Sometimes I think historical sites in Japan are too eager to omit the details in order to bolster their credentials. Like how Inuyama Castle, Matsuoka Castle and Matsumoto Castle all claim to be the oldest extant castle in Japan in some capacity or the other when you visit, until you're like, well, I've heard that before. It's not a castle but if you go to the Ushiku Daibutsu which was formerly the largest statue in the world they completely fail to acknowledge the several larger statues built subsequently and continue with their number 1 claim. After a point, isn't it just lying? It's made me cynical. Anyway, I've started checking to see if other sources other than the site itself acknowledge their "number 1" claims, otherwise I inevitably stumble upon more accurate information at a later date and feel deceived. It's a mine field out there!
  • sendaichoro    March 05, 2017 at 11:14 PM
    Shiroishi is a very nicely done reconstruction using traditional methods and materials and boasts to be the largest authentic reconstruction. It is an easy day trip from Sendai and 4 hours by car from Tokyo. Particularly enjoyed the wall construction display which explained the construction method. We found the volunteer to be extremely helpful and enjoyable. Certainly did not feel like a tourist trap. Looking forward to returning during Sakura to visit the Samarai house and museum. They also host a samarai festival in October as well.
  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 11:22 PM
    There is a bell tower next to the castle tower. The bell they were using in 1661 is still in existence, off in some temple. On a sign in the honmaru is a picture of another gate shown which is now moved off site and heavily modified. The windows especially show evidence of “temple-isation,” being Katōmado.
  • furinkazan on My Page    May 17, 2015 at 06:29 PM
    I really don't understand the comment of Craig. Sorry for you if you are unable to hold a ticket for +/-200m. And if it's a tourist trap, then almost all japanese castles are. The comment of Frank is right. The reconstructed buildings have been done like it should be, in wood. The masugata entrance is really something weird. I never saw one like that before. The entrance to the castle is 300¥, but i also visited the bukeyashiki and the museum. The fee for the bukeyashiki is 200¥ and the museum is free. There is a little 3d film on an event of Date Masamune's life(only in japanese) on the 3rd floor for 300¥. It's +/-25min long. You are able to buy a combination ticket for the 3 for 600¥. To find the places is not difficult. There are tiles on the sidewalk and signboards everywhere.
  • Craig    March 21, 2013 at 01:36 PM
    This castle is a bit of a tourist trap. You can just tell the city made it as part of their efforts to try and make themselves a little tourist insutry (along with the odd name of their shinkansen station). If you're driving to/from Sendai then its worth stopping off and having a look. If travelling by train though.....well I was only at the castle half an hour and I'd seen it all. Admittedly I didn't go inside, maybe if I'd done so things would be better, but I bought and then lost my ticket (you have to pay some distance before the actual castle door) and didn't intend to back track and pay double the going rate for what looked to be a pretty mediocre observation tower.
  • Frank T. on My Page    October 03, 2011 at 10:57 PM
    Wood, stones, plaster, and tiles; it's about time somebody got it right. This is a small site, but the reconstruction was done the way it should be. It's so good to see reconstructions these days following this pattern. There weren't too many visitors when I was there, and that may be business as usual. The watchman inside seemed like he hadn't spoken to another human being in quite a while and pretty much insisted I try on the fake armor and gear for a photo. Outside the keep the local high school brass band members were practicing. Little things like this that happen by chance always make a castle visit stand out.
  • alicemacgee on My Page    November 07, 2010 at 05:49 PM
    Went there on the same day as local students went for some kind of archery contest, so at first I thought they were shooting a movie. But as I got to know, there are many similar events held here, and the castle seems to be the center of the city life until now. Also, I don't know how about the castles that I haven't been to yet, but in Shiroishi visitors can experience what it was like to wear samurai armor, because they offer armors to try on.
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Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture
Shiroishi Castle views
donjon and gate otemon gate
otemon gate tenshu
tenshu model of the honmaru