Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Saitama
Population
6,938,004

Oshi Castle

Check out samurai re-enactments at this “Flying Castle” just a day trip away from Tokyo.

With a history so tumultuous it inspired a book and a movie, Oshi Castle is just a quick day trip from Tokyo where you can catch reenactments of samurai clashing with their opponents.

Oshi Castle history

Located in Saitama Prefecture’s Gyoda City, Oshi Castle has much historical significance. It is considered one of the Narita clan’s most important strongholds in the Sengoku period, which literally translates to “Age of Warring States.” The Sengoku period lasted from the 15th to 17th centuries and is remembered for its constant political upheaval and battles.

Its location … made it extremely difficult to attack.

Oshi Castle was built by Narita Akiyasu and finished construction in 1479. Its location on a small piece of elevated land surrounded by marshes and swamplands made it extremely difficult to attack, thus earning the name “The Floating Castle.”

This was put to the test during the Siege of Oshi in 1590. Feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered an attack on Oshi Castle, sending 23,000 troops to fight Oshi Castle’s meager 619 samurai and 2,000 local conscripts, who successfully defended the castle against multiple attacks.

Sadly, the story doesn’t end well for the brave soldiers at Oshi Castle. In the end, the castle’s overlords were defeated in the Siege of Odawara, thus causing the area to fall under Tokugawa Ieyasu’s control.

Sakitama Kofun Park

"Cherry tree on the hill, Sakitama Kofun, Saitama, Japan"
The main tower was later destroyed during the Meiji restoration, although some of the surrounding walls and layouts remain standing today. The main tower was reconstructed in 1988 and is now home to the Gyoda Municipal Folk Museum, where you can learn more about Oshi Castle’s history.

Oshi Castle is nicknamed the “the floating castle” and is celebrated in a 2012 comedy-drama film of the same name. That film is based on a book written by award-winning author Ryo Wada. It captures the action and drama of the Seige of Oshi and won a Japan Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

Events at Oshi Castle

You can watch a samurai battle reenactment of the Siege on Oshi on weekends and holidays. The group who does the performances is called Oshi-jo Omotenashi Kaccutai (roughly translating to “Oshi Castle’s Armored Entertainment Troupe”), and they perform twice a day. (Times listed below.)

Oshi Castle Sakura

Photo by: Gyoda City Office Oshi Castle sakura light up.

The area is another spot to catch cherry blossoms in the springtime for an excellent photo op. The blossoms typically reach their peak in northern Saitama from late March to early April.

There is also a festival called Oshi Jidai Matsuri held every November where locals dress up as samurai and parade around Oshi Castle and Gyoda City. You can find more information and get updates on this yearly event here (Japanese).

Although Oshi Castle isn’t one of the more famous castles in Japan, its historical significance is undeniable.

Topics: , , ,

Trivia

"Cherry tree on the hill, Sakitama Kofun, Saitama, Japan"

Sakitama Kofun Park

Borrow a bicycle and spend the day riding alongside the passage of time to these ancient burial mounds.

More

Things To Know

Gyoda Municipal Folk Museum (inside Oshi Castle)

Open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.) (Closed Mondays) Admission: ¥200 for adults, ¥100 for high school students, ¥50 for children

Oshi-jo Omotenashi Kaccutai

Performances on weekends and holidays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Oshi Castle.

How To Get There

Address

17-23 Honmaru, Gyoda, Saitama 361-0052, Japan

By train

Take the Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train), JR Takasaki line, JR Ueno-Tokyo line, or JR Shonan Shinjuku line train to Kumagaya station. Switch to Chichibu Railway and get off at Gyodashi Station. Oshi Castle is about a 15-minute walk or 5-minute car ride from the station.

By car

30 minutes from Hanyu IC on the Tohoku Expressway.

Where To Stay

Gyoda Natural Onsen Hana Hotel Gyoda
  • Sama 1-11-11 Gyoda-Shi, Saitama 361-0076
  • 8.7/10
  • 0.7 km
Powered by Booking.com
HOTEL Eldia Japanese Modern (Adult Only)
  • Mochida 2430-6 Gyoda-Shi, Saitama 361-0056
  • 6.8/10
  • 2.2 km
Powered by Booking.com
Hotel Garden Palace
  • Sayada 3248 Kumagaya-Shi, Saitama 360-0023
  • 8.5/10
  • 3.9 km
Powered by Booking.com
Hotel Route Inn Kounosu
  • Fukuro 791-1 Konosu-Shi, Saitama 369-0131
  • 8.1/10
  • 4.8 km
Powered by Booking.com