All About Japan

A Guided Tour of Chiba's 12 Castles

| Castles , Chiba

While people tend to think of Chiba as home to Tokyo Disneyland and Narita International Airport, if you look a little more closely you'll find some surprising things—such as a dozen castles and ruins scattered around the prefecture just waiting to be discovered! While there's little left of many, each is a treasure trove to castle buffs!

12. Kogane Castle (Matsudo City)

Kogane Castle once looked over its surrounding town before it was eventually abandoned in 1537. The land was later redeveloped, but a variety of artifacts from the castle have been preserved, and visitors to the site can still see the original structure's foundations.

11. Chiba Castle (Chiba City)

Chiba Castle was actually built in 1967 on the site of the now-defunct Inohana Castle. It was home to the Chiba Clan, who were at one time important allies of the Kamakura Shogunate. Today visitors can step inside to visit the Chiba Folk Museum.

10. Moroto Castle (Inzai City)

Not much remains of Moroto Castle these days, but you can still visit what remains of the castle's moat and baileys in Inbanuma Park, a moderate 30-minute walk from Usui Castle below.

9. Usui Castle (Sakura City)

Much like nearby Moroto, Usui Castle, which was founded in the 12th century, lies in ruin in a beautiful park. Visitors can still stroll around the castle's impressive moat.

8. Usuida Shukuuchi Fort (Sakura City)

Usuida Shukuuchi Fort only offered defensive support to Usui Castle proper, but it's still a sight to see on its own. Some of the fort's baileys are still visible today.

7. Tateyama Castle (Tateyama City)

This 16th century castle was destroyed at the end of the Edo Period (1603–1868), but was reconstructed in 1982. It now houses a number of artifacts contemporary to the original building that history buffs are welcome to visit.

6. Sakata Castle (Yokoshiba-hikari Town)

The site of Sakata Castle is best known in the present for its bountiful plum trees. It lies in ruin now, but was formerly an important defensive stronghold for the Ida Clan.

5. Sakura Castle (Sakura City)

Like many of the castles on this list, Sakura Castle is all but a ruin now. However, the park established around the remains of the moat is resplendent in cherry blossoms in the spring, and well worth a visit.

4. Motosakura Castle (Shisui Town)

Not too far from Sakura Castle lie the remains of Motosakura. Unlike many of the others featured in this article, Motosakura Castle is quite well preserved, and excavation work is ongoing. Guided tours and lectures are offered to the public.

3. Otaki Castle (Otaki Town)

Otaki Castle was home of the Satomi Clan during the Edo Period before it was ultimately abandoned. Today, the reconstructed version serves as a history museum, offering rotating exhibits and a number of courses on cultural preservation.

2. Kururi Castle (Kimitsu City)

This mountain castle had a turbulent past, changing hands from one warring clan to the next from its establishment in the 15th century until it was finally abandoned in the 19th century during the transition to the Meiji Period (1868–1912). The castle you can visit today is a reconstruction, although the original foundations of the tower are still visible.

1. Sekiyado Castle (Noda City)

Sekiyado Castle was originally constructed in 1457, but today it exists as a reconstruction of the original. Curious visitors can step inside to explore the castle's history museum. On a clear day, the view is incredible!