Kiyosu Castle was initially constructed around 1405 by Shiba Yoshishige, the Governor of Owari, serving as a major strategic defense and later as the seat of power for the Owari region (now Aichi Prefecture). One branch of the Oda clan, administrators of Owari, took control of southern Owari and Kiyosu Castle from 1476, while the other branch was based in Iwakura Castle, overseeing northern Owari.

Kiyosu Castle was the launch point for many significant samurai battles during the turbulent Sengoku, or Warring States Period (1450-1615), including the battles of Okehazama (1560), Anegawa (1570), Nagashino (1575), and Sekigahara (1600).

In 1555, after the death of his father, Oda Nobunaga enlisted the help of his uncle, Oda Nobumitsu, to attack and kill Oda Nobutomo, the clan leader at Kiyosu Castle. Nobunaga subsequently relocated from Nagoya Castle to Kiyosu. Two years later, he discovered a plot by his younger brother, Nobuyuki, to overthrow him. Feigning illness, Nobunaga drew Nobuyuki close and assassinated him within Kiyosu Castle, thereby eliminating opposition and ensuring clan stability.

Kiyosu remained Nobunaga’s base for many years, during which time the city flourished due to his economic reforms and enhanced security. The castle grounds once spanned 1.6 kilometers east-west and 2.8 kilometers north-south, featuring an outer, central, and inner moat system.


On July 16, 1582, just weeks after Nobunaga’s death at Honno-ji Temple in Kyoto, an important meeting regarding the Oda clan’s succession, known as the Kiyosu Conference, was held at Kiyosu Castle. Top Oda retainers, including Shibata Katsuie, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Niwa Nagahide, and Ikeda Tsuneoki, gathered to decide on Nobunaga’s successor. With Nobunaga’s designated heir, Nobutada, having died at Nijo Castle, the succession was contested between Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who supported Oda Samboshi (Nobunaga’s infant grandson), and Shibata Katsuie, who backed Nobunaga’s third son, Nobutaka. The conference ended without resolution, leading to escalating tensions between Hideyoshi and Katsuie, culminating in the Battle of Shizugatake. Ultimately, Hideyoshi triumphed, leading to Katsuie’s defeat and suicide, and Hideyoshi's eventual domination of Japan.

Following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Kiyosu Castle saw various masters. It was reconstructed in concrete in 1989 across a small river from its original location. The actual site of the keep now features the "Kiyosu Furusato no Yakata," a small rest area and souvenir stall. Surprisingly, the JR train lines and Bullet Train lines run directly through the old castle site. The southern half of Kiyosu Castle is now a park with statues of Oda Nobunaga in full armor and his wife, Princess No-Hime.

The current reconstructed Kiyosu Castle serves as a symbol of Kiyosu City and houses a well-planned museum featuring fascinating displays and artifacts related to the castle’s history and its role in the Period of Warring States.


See also 

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