The Foundation for Preservation of Koriyama Castle and Yanagisawa Bunko Museum was founded in 1960, with Yanagisawa Yasutsugu playing the key role. In autumn of the following year, Yanagisawa Bunko Museum was opened in the Bishamon Kuruwa on the remains of Koriyama Castle as an archive specializing in local historical publications. On April 1, 2013, the facility was designated a Public Interest Incorporated Foundation following certification by Nara Prefecture.
The Foundation’s collection spans calligraphy, poetry and other works by the heads of the Yanagisawa feudal clan over the years, public records and historical documents of the feudal clan of Koriyama, and tens of thousands of other rare materials and old Japanese books all donated by the Yanagisawa family upon the Foundation’s launch. Also stored are histories of the local governments and other general writings focused on history and literature from within Nara Prefecture and regions related to the Yanagisawa family.
These collected historical materials and other documents are made widely available to the general public for related research, with the display room utilized to hold exhibitions focused on the historical documents. Also sponsored is the Koriyama Studies program as a Yanagisawa Bunko Museum workshop, featuring lectures about the Yanagisawa family, the Koriyama domain and other history.

Yanagisawa Family

The Yanagisawa family originated with Yoshimitsu of Seiwa Genji (who assumed the name Saburo Shinra upon adulthood), a native of Kai (current-day Yamanashi Prefecture). The family enjoyed particularly close ties with the Takeda family of Kai, with its roots tracked to Mukawa-Yanagisawa village in the Koma district of Kai (current-day Yanagisawa in Mukawa Town, Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture).
Yanagisawa Nobutoshi served under Takeda Shingen and his son Katsuyori. After the fall of the Takeda family, Nobutoshi served the great Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Yanagisawa Yasutada was originally a vassal of the Tokugawa Shogun, but later served Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, head of the Tatebayashi domain and excelled as chief financial advisor. After this, Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, eldest son of Yasutada, went on to serve as the grand chamberlain of the fifth generation Shogun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi.
Yoshiyasu earned recognition for his loyal service, and was appointed to serve as top ranking senior councilor. He was subsequently presented with Kawagoe Castle and then Kofu Castle, emerging as a great daimyo lord overseeing castles with massive rice stipends.
In 1724, Yoshiyasu’s eldest son Yoshisato succeeded his father, and then was ordered to rule over Koriyama Castle with the high rice stipend kept in place. The Yanagisawa family continued to reign supreme in that region for more than a hundred years, until the official establishment of prefectures to replace the feudal domain system in July of 1871.
Twenty-FourGenerals of TakedaShingen

Yanagisawa Family


During Japan’s medieval era, Koriyama witnessed power struggles by local samurai warriors known as the Koriyama-shu, who tended to farm during peacetime years. Tsutsui Junkei, a feudal lord who later united the region with the support of powerful military commander Oda Nobunaga, arrived in Koriyama via nearby Tsutsui Castle in November 1580. There, he built Koriyama Castle and the surrounding castle town.
Following Junkei, Toyotomi Hidenaga, younger brother of famed warrior general Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was posted to Koriyama to upgrade the castle into a full-fledged, early-modern stronghold. He likewise promoted measures to achieve prosperity for the castle town. After rule by Hidenaga and his adopted son Hideyasu, the next lord dispatched to Koriyama was Mashita Nagamori. He worked to excavate the outer moat and erect the outermost fortifications of the castle.
The years characterized by major struggles such as the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) and the Summer Siege of Osaka (1615) saw the devastation of Koriyama Castle. Later feudal lords of the castle, Mizuno Katsunari and then Matsudaira Tadaakira (grandson of the great leader Tokugawa Ieyasu who united Japan), set out to rebuild Koriyama Castle and the surrounding town. Their efforts were pivotal in restoring vestiges of past glory. Subsequently, hereditary feudal lords to the ruling Tokugawa clan (including two generations of the Honda family, the single generation ruler Matsudaira Nobuyuki and then five more generations of the Honda family) served as the lords of Koriyama Castle.
In 1724, Yanagisawa Yoshisato (Lord of Kofu Castle in current-day Yamanashi Prefecture) was transferred to Koriyama. This commenced six generations of rule by the Yanagisawa family as lords of Koriyama Castle, ushering Japan into the dawn of modernization with the Meiji Restoration in the later half of the 19th century. In 1873, by proclamation of the Grand Council of State, Koriyama Castle was officially torn down.
A century later, from around 1975 to 1985, Otemon Gate, Ote East Corner Tower and Ote Front Tower were restored through contributions from citizens and other financial sources. In March 2017, repairs of the castle base stonewall were completed by the Koriyama Castle Panoramic View Facility Repair Project of current-day Yamatokoriyama City. Along with the remaining moat, the landscape is considered reminiscent of Koriyama Castle centuries ago.

Major Artifacts

Calligraphy by fifth generation Tokugawa Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (titled “Don’t Hesitate and Be Quick to Amend One’s Mistakes”).
Originally given to Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu by Tsunayoshi on June 3, 1688, it is currently a designated cultural treasure of Yamatokoriyama City.

Yamatokoriyama Domain Family Map (Yamatokoriyama City designated cultural treasure)

A drawing that depicts Koriyama Castle, the villas of clan retainers and the surrounding castle town.
Rikugien Garden (painted by artists Kano Tsunenobu, Kano Chikanobu and Kano Minenobu) (Yamatokoriyama City designated cultural treasure)
Depiction of the Rikugien Garden landscaped by Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu in his villa in the Komagome district of Tokyo, consisting of all three scrolls
Rakushido Journal (229 volumes in all) (Nara Prefecture designated cultural treasure)
Official diary of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu. The journal begins with mention of his great-great-grandfather, and continues through June 1709, when he ceded his position as family head to his eldest son and heir Yoshisato, and retired to his villa in the Komagome district of Tokyo.
Fukujudo Journal (441 volumes in all) (Nara Prefecture designated cultural treasure)
Official diary of Yanagisawa Yoshisato (June 1709 through October 1745).

Yanagisawa Bunko Museum

Society for Preservation of Koriyama Castle and Yanagisawa Bunko Museum
2-18 Jonaicho, Yamatokoriyama City, Nara Prefecture 639-1011
Museum Hours

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (final admission at 4:30 p.m.)


Mondays and fourth Tuesday (open on national holidays
in both cases), summer Bon holidays, New Year’s holidays
*The Museum may also close for exhibition changes and other reasons.

Admission Fee

[Adults] 300 yen (200 yen)
[Students] 200 yen (100 yen)

*Prices in parentheses are rates for groups of 20 persons or more.
*No charge for those who are junior high school age and under, or persons with disabilities (ID required).