Date: 22nd November 2018
Sumoto Castle (洲本城) was a castle built back in 1526 on Mount Mikuma (133m above sea level) by Atagi Haruoki, a retainer of the Awa Province-based Miyoshi clan who also ruled the Awaji Province during the Sengoku period. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the most prominent figures of the Sengoku period conquered Awajishima in 1581 as a strategy to control Osaka bay. He sent Sengoku Hidehisa to Awajishima where he was made the daimyo of Sumoto Castle in 1583.
Hidehisa was exiled after the loss at the Battle of Hetsugigawa against the Shimazu clan for disobeying Hideyoshi’s commands to wait for further troops before proceeding to attack. Wakizaka Yasuharu, one of the Seven Spears of Shizugatake was then appointed the daimyo of Awaji.
Following the Battle of Sekigahara which marked the start of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1600, Awajishima was temporarily governed by the Ikeda clan who was just granted the Himeji Domain following their success in the decisive battle. After the Siege of Osaka in 1615, Awajishima was granted to the Hachisuka Clan who ruled the Tokushima Domain, who in turn appointed their retainer the Inada Clan to govern the island. The castle was later demolished in 1642.
The tenshu (castle keep) you see today is reconstructed in 1928, making it the oldest reconstruction of a castle keep, though you cannot enter the castle keep.
Since it is a hilltop castle, you can catch good views of nearby Sumoto City, Awajishima, Osaka Bay and the Seto Inland Sea from here.
What I like most about the castle is of course the stonewalls! Look at them in the pictures below, read further about these stonewalls in the links at the end of the post. Also, I did not expect this at all since there were not that many visitors, but this castle is illuminated at night as well.
There are no trains whatsoever on Awaji Island, so if you are opting for public transportation, a bus or boat would be the best way to reach this island.
- From the Kansai Region, you can take the Awaji Kotsu Bus from Kobe or Osaka for a 1.5 to 2 hours ride @ 1,850 / 2,350 yen.
- From Kansai International Airport (KIX), you can take the airport bus to Sumoto for 2 hours @ 3,100 yen.
- From the Shikoku Region, an infrequent bus (4 times a day) operates from Tokushima to Sumoto for 1.5 hours @ 1,650 yen.
- The only boat route is from Akashi in Kobe to Iwaya for only 15 minutes @ 500 yen. Departures are very frequent. Link here.
Sumoto Castle is a 40-minutes uphill walk or a 10-minutes drive from the Sumoto Bus Terminal. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Koen-Mae (5 mins, 150 yen), from where it is a 20-minutes walk to the castle.