Komine Castle

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Komine Castle
Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
Shirakawa-Komine-jo Castle.jpg
Reconstructed Main donjon of Komine Castle
Ruined Komine Castle after the Battle of Aizu
Coordinates 37°07′57″N 140°12′49″E / 37.132624°N 140.213583°E / 37.132624; 140.213583
Type hilltop-style Japanese castle
Site information
Owner partially reconstructed 1991
Open to
the public
Site history
Built 1340, rebuilt 1632
Built by Yūki Chikatomo, Niwa Nagashige
In use Edo period
Demolished 1866

Komine Castle (小峰城 Komine-jō?) is a Japanese castle located in what is now the city of Shirakawa, southern Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Throughout the middle to later Edo period, Komine Castle was home to the Abe clan, daimyō of Shirakawa Domain. It was also referred to as Shirakawa-Komine Castle (白河小峰城 Shirakawa Komine-jō?) or simply Shirakawa Castle (白河城 Shirakawa-jō?). The castle is one of the 100 Fine Castles of Japan, and in 2007 was designated a National Historic Site. The castle grounds are also a noted venue for viewing sakura in spring.


The construction of Komine Castle began in 1340 by Yūki Chikatomo, is a small hilltop fortification with earthen palisades. The Yūki clan were dispossessed in 1590 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and their territory became part of the holdings of Aizu Domain under the Gamo clan followed by the Uesugi clan.

After the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate, Niwa Nagashige was transferred from Tanagura Domain to become daimyō of the newly created 100,000 koku Shirakawa Domain in 1627 and completely rebuilt and expanded Komine Castle between 1628 and 1632. During the remainder of the Edo period, the castle passed through the hands of seven daimyo clans with a total of 21 daimyō (the Niwa, Sakakibara, Honda, three branches of the Matsudaira clan and finally the Abe clan) before reverting to direct control of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1866, on the eve of the Boshin War.

During the Battle of Aizu in 1868, Shirakawa was the site of a major battle between the pro-Tokugawa Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei and the pro-imperial Satchō Alliance. On May 1, 1868 the castle was largely destroyed by the superior firepower of the Satchō Alliance artillery.

Following the Meiji restoration the remaining castle structures were destroyed and the site was transformed into a park. In 1991, a three-story donjon was reconstructed on the foundations of the original donjon, and in 1994 one of the gates was restored. These structures (along with some of the stonework in the moats) suffered significant damage during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.

The area was granted government protection as a National Historic Site in August 2008.[1]


  • 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. ISBN 4-7700-2954-3. 
  • Turnbull, Stephen (2003). Japanese Castles 1540-1640. Osprey Publishing. p. 64 pages. ISBN 1-84176-429-9. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Komine Castle at Wikimedia Commons