Inazawa-City, Aisai-City Birthplace of Oda Nobunaga / Shobata Castle Ruins
According to the ancient manuscript, "Records of Owari Castles," defining the birth sites of many of Aichi’s famed samurai, the first Unifier of Japan, popular warlord Oda Nobunaga, was born in Shobata Castle.
Shobata Castle, straddling the border between Aisai and Inazawa cities in Aichi Prefecture, was built between 1504 and 1520 using the Nikko River as a natural moat, and as a feed for the intricate moat system protecting the castle. Surrounding the square shaped castle were a number of long, thin, co-joined island rings around the central castle area, which was constructed of high earthen banks, creating a protective bowl-like effect. The main castle covered an area around 228 meters long and 208 meters wide.
The name of the castle originally came from the local area, which translated meant Salt Fields (shio-bata). However, upon building the castle, Nobunaga’s father Oda Nobuhide changed the kanji characters to have a similar sound, but with the stronger, more auspicious name of Shobata. In 1532, Nobuhide moved his base to Nagoya Castle, and left one of his retainers in charge. The following year, 1533, the court noble, Yamashina Tokitsugu was invited by Nobuhide to Shobata Castle. Yamashina recorded in his diary his surprise at the scale and performance of the castle, and of the hospitality and economic strength of the Oda clan.