Open main menu

Tachibana Castle (立花城, Tachibana-jō) was a Japanese castle in Chikuzen Province, in the north of Kyūshū. It was at the peak of Mount Tachibana, extending in part into the Higashi-ku in Fukuoka. The castle is also known as Rikka-jō, Tachibanayama-jō, or Rikkasan-jō (立花山城, Tachibana mountain castle).

Tachibana Castle
Tachibana Mountain, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, Japan
TypeKamakura period Japanese castle
Site information
Controlled byŌtomo clan (1330–1569, 1569–1586), Mōri clan (1569), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1586–1598), Tokugawa Ieyasu/Tokugawa shogunate (1598 – c. 1603)
ConditionRuins of stone elements of keep, wells and waterworks remain
Site history
Built byŌtomo Sadatoshi
In use1330–1586
MaterialsWood, stone, plaster
Demolishedc. 1603
Battles/warsBattle of Tatarahama (1569), Kyūshū Campaign (1586)
Garrison information
Tachibana Ginchiyo (c. 1575), Kobayakawa Takakage (c. 1586–1598)


The castle was originally built in 1330, by Ōtomo Sadatoshi, Constable (shugo) of Bungo Province, as a show of support to the Tachibana clan. Since it was in a tactically powerful location, looking down upon the port town of Hakata, the castle was fought over throughout the Sengoku period by the Ōtomo, Ōuchi, and Mōri clans.

In one of the more significant sieges, the Ōtomo clan lost the castle to the Mōri clan in 1569, who had become one of the most skilled and powerful clans in the field of naval warfare; their use of Western-style cannon granted them a large advantage in this battle. They abandoned it soon afterwards, however, following a defeat at Tatarahama to an allied Ōtomo-Amago clan force.

The castle was besieged once more, in 1586, by the Shimazu family; the castle's lord at the time was Tachibana Muneshige. The Shimazu called off the siege, however, when they learned of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's intentions to invade Kyūshū. The Tachibana forces were eventually forced to flee during that campaign, to Yanagawa castle. Tachibana castle fell to Hideyoshi, who entrusted it to Kobayakawa Takakage.

A little over a decade later, at the beginning of the Edo period, Tachibana was largely destroyed and dismantled, much of the stone going into the construction of Fukuoka Castle. Today, remnants of the honmaru (central keep), the wells and waterworks survive.


  • Much of this article derives from a translation of the corresponding article on the Japanese Wikipedia.
  • Turnbull, Stephen (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. London: Cassell & Co.

Coordinates: 33°40′47″N 130°28′06″E / 33.679722°N 130.468319°E / 33.679722; 130.468319