The Overnight Wonder: Sunomata Castle, Gifu

  • GIFU
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  • Oftentimes we hear about structures built in a day and we marvel how fast it was made and how good the workers were. Now how about if it was a castle? It would really blow people’s minds more so if it was made without the help of modern technology. Thus the allure of Sunomata castle; a structure built overnight.


    During the warring states period the famous warlord, Oda Nobunaga wanted a castle as a forward base to launch his attack on his enemy at the time, the Saito clan. Previous attempts to build a castle in the Sunomata area to assault the Saito’s stronghold, Inabayama (Gifu) Castle failed. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was then tasked by Nobunaga to erect the castle. Hideyoshi ingeniously used pre-constructed sections to put up the fortress and it was finished so quickly that it gave the impression that it was done overnight.

    The original one night castle consisted of a wooden walled fortress, simple watchtowers, palisades, and dry moats. In reality, it was more of a border fort than a full sized castle, its reason being to intimidate, surprise and demoralize the enemy. This purpose was eventually realized since Nobunaga eventually subjugated the whole Mino region and served as his stepping stone in unifying Japan.


    The current castle is reconstruction built in 1991 and was modeled after the nearby Ogaki Castle. The castle serves as a museum highlighting its history and importance. Inside, one can see a model of what the castle would have really looked like in reality along with samurai armor pieces and weapons of that time. The castle is also one of the best sites to view cherry blossoms during spring as the banks wherein the castle is located are covered with hundreds of cherry trees. Even with its relatively small size, this castle boasts a great story behind it, a surefire worthy investment of anyone’s time.

    Related: Ogaki Castle: A must visit for the castle lovers, Gifu prefecture