Sunomata Castle - Gifu

Located at 1742-1 Sunomata, Ogaki City in Gifu Prefecture, Sunomata Castle (墨俣城) is one of Japan's historical but reconstructed castles.

Ogaki City
Sunomata Castle (墨俣城)

Sunomata Castle History

The original castle was built in 1567 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was during that time, a minor retainer of Oda Nobunaga. The castle was named Sunomata Ichiya-jo (Castle) or simply Ichiya-jo which literally means "one night castle". It got its name from the legend that it was built only in one night. 

Sunomata Castle 墨俣城 - Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture

The gourd or hyotan can be seen all around the castle as it is the symbol of the area

Sunomata Castle

One has to cross the Sai River or Naka River to get to the castle

Sunomata Castle
Sunomata Castle as seen from the middle of the bridge

Hideyoshi built the castle to serve as his base and headquarters during the siege of Inabayama Castle (now Gifu Castle). Like what was written earlier, legend has it that Sunomata Castle was built in just one night. However, Hideyoshi actually used pre-constructed sections to put up the fortress which resulted in it being finished quickly which gave the people the impression that it was built in just one night but in reality, the castle took several days to complete. 

A closer view of the castle

Ms. Taeko and Ella

A statue of Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Gourds are considered as the symbol of Hideyoshi... 

... that's why many hang it together with their wishes in Sunamata Castle grounds.

The original castle was made from wood. It has a wooden watchtower, palisades, and a dry moat. Its quick completion earns Toyotomi Hideyoshi prestige within his master's army. After capturing Inabayama Castle, Sunomata Castle's purpose was finally served hence it slowly deteriorated before finally being destroyed.

You have to pay 200 yen here before exploring inside the castle.

In 1991, a faux castle tower was reconstructed and served as a local history museum. Unlike the original wooden structure, the present structure is made of concrete and was modeled after the nearby Ogaki Castle. Like many of the present-day Japanese castles, the top floor of the castle has a viewing deck where one can see the beautiful scenery surrounding the castle. Speaking of beautiful scenery, the castle vicinity is one of the best places to go to in Gifu Prefecture to view the cherry blossoms. Aside from that, the castle is also illuminated at night creating a spectacular scene that is also a must-see.

At present, Sunomata Castle houses several feudal-era weapons and armors. It also has a miniature model display of what the original castle really looks like.

Displays inside Sunomata Castle:

The first floor shows the nature and history of Sunomata

A painting of how the castle vicinity once looked like

Some Noh theater masks

A statue of a samurai or maybe Toyotomi Hideyoshi 

Some historical information about the castle is also displayed on the wall

Some relics owned by well-known individuals from Ogaki.

There's also a video that talks about the Siege of Gifu Castle

More informative wall panels with the history of the city

A piece of a beautifully adorned textile 

A samurai armor can also be seen inside the castle

Feudal-era weapons are also displayed

A diorama of Sunomata which was once a post town on the Mino Road between Atsuta in Nagoya and Tarui in Gifu.

The fifth-floor is the viewing deck which has a beautiful view of the neighborhood around the castle...

... and also the highway that passes on its side.

My family and I got to visit Sunomata Castle during our 18th day of stay in Japan. our visit was just a short side trip on our way home to Osaka after our four-day road trip of Gifu and Nagano Prefectures. We managed to explore the castle keep and the castle grounds in just an hour. I also got to buy some souvenirs from the shop inside the castle. 

Sunomata Castle Admission Fee:

Just a bit of a note, visitors should pay 200 yen to enter the castle keep. It's free to explore the castle grounds though but there is little to be seen here except during the spring season when the sakura is at full bloom.

Gotta love the view

Overall, given a chance, I'd love to go back to Sunomata Castle in spring. I'd love to see with my own eyes how the sakura blossoms transform the castle grounds into a romantic spot.

Sunomata Castle Opening Hours:

Sunomata Castle is open from 9AM - 5PM every day.

Why visit Sunomata Castle?

Sunomata Castle is one of those little known castles for foreign tourists. Hence it attracts only a few tourists most of the year unlike the bigger and more popular castles in some of Japan's big cities. If you plan to visit Sunomata Castle, it is highly recommended that you visit during the sakura season as it transforms Sunomata Castle grounds into a romantic spot.

Getting to Sunomata Castle:

Ride the JR Tokaido Line going to Ogaki Station. From there, walk towards the south exit of JR Ogaki Station and ride a Meihan Kintetsu Bus to the Sunomata bus stop. From there the castle is around 5 minutes away on foot.

Overall rating


  1. That castle looks really interesting. Were there more than one?

    1. There are dozens of castles here in Japan. It seems like every city has one.

  2. This place is now in my "Thing to do" when I visit Japan!

  3. this looks simply amazing!! you always have a great time!

    1. I'm just thankful God has blessed us with our Japanese family.

  4. absolutely love the architecture!

  5. I remember reading somewhere that Oda Nobunaga ordered one of his general to do what ever he could in an attempt to finish the siege, I didn't know the castle was this beautiful :D and besides some historical attempt to immortalize the samurai in feudal japan :D

    1. Actually Toyotomi Hideyoshi was just a minor retainer by Nobunaga during this time but because of this castle he was immortalized and later on made a name for himself all around Japan.

  6. lovely sharing with the beautiful captures shared here, love this Japan castle, thanks for sharing this, wish to be there personally 1 day :D
    cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  7. Thank you for this quick tour of the castle. It looks imposing in photos. It probably looks grander in person.

    1. I agree with you Ivan. My camera didn't capture the real beauty of Sunomata Castle. Seeing it with your own eyes is the best way to experience it.

  8. WOW! Want to visit there someday!

  9. You have explained the location in detail. I liked the masks in showcase. Also pictures are fabulous.

  10. Omg this is a gorgeous place! And that giant gourd screams lucky charm :)

    1. =) Please do visit Sunomata Castle when you are in Japan Blair. =)

  11. What a stunning temple. I love the idea of hanging up wishes to bring to to fruition. Such a great place.
    Elizabeth O

  12. aku sudah membaca sejarah terbentuknya benteng ini, Ternyata bentengnya kaya gitu ya... makasih atas informasinya...

    1. I translated your comment - "I've read the history of the formation of this fort. It turns out that the fort is rich ... thanks for the information"

      You're welcome. Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. You are right Sunomata Castle is a fort to begin with. Although I doubt about its wealth, I agree that it is rich in history and folklore.

  13. I love castles. This one has a very interesting history.

    1. Sunomata Castle's history is really interesting. Please do visit.


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