Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle 石垣山一夜城
Founder Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi
Year 1590
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Ishigakiyama-jo, Ichiya-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Location Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Hayakawa Sta (Tokaido Line), 45 min walk
Website Odawara City
Visited October 12, 2009
Notes There is a historical walking trail that starts right in front of the station and will take you straight up to the castle but most of the signs are in Japanese. It is pretty much an uphill walk for 45 mins from the station. Hayakawa is just one station past Odawara so it makes a good combination to visit both of these in the same day.
History

Toyotomi Hideyoshi built this castle just outside of Odawara for his siege of Odawara Castle. You can actually see Odawara Castle quite well on your way up the mountain from the train station and you can also see it from the lookout of the Honmaru bailey at the top.

Ichiya Castle actually means "one night castle" in Japanese. It was called this because Hideyoshi built the castle in secret and then one night they cut down all the trees around the top of the mountain that were used to screen the building of the castle. To the Hojo it looked like they built this extensive castle in just one night. It is said that this surprise helped contribute to the loss of resolve by the Hojo. Ichiya Castle is where Hideyoshi brought his concubine Yodo-dono and tea master Sen no Rikyu and entertained with tea ceremonies and performers.

It actually took Hideyoshi 80 days to build the "one night castle" with 40,000 workers. Despite how rapidly the castle was built, it was well constructed with the intention of standing through a prolonged war. Hideyoshi employed the skilled stone wall artisans from Western Japan that also worked on Azuchi Castle and Osaka Castle. This castle was the first castle in the Kanto region to seriously make use of stone walls.

After the siege of Odawara Castle was over, Ichiya Castle was abandoned. The castle was built and decommissioned in a shorter time than it took any comparable size castle to even be built. This mountain, Ishigakiyama, literaly means "mountain of stone walls." It was originally called Mt. Kasagakeyama but the name eventually changed, reflecting the image of all the stone walls that were left behind. After 400 years of neglect, much of the walls have crumbled under natural forces, earthquakes and the theft of the stones, but you can still recognize the craftsmanship in some of the walls that still stand solidly today and easily imagine this mountainside being covered in stone walls when the castle was built.

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Comment on this castle
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    May 17, 2014 at 10:02 PM
    Boy what a ride this was, magnificent view. Had there been a castle at this site it would have had the best view in Japan.
  • Kris on My Page    February 13, 2012 at 10:40 PM
    This castle has so many interesting stories associated with it; that alone makes it worth seeing. There are numerous stone walls and fantastic views out over the ocean and of course down to Odawara. The stonework around the well was particularly impressive, especially with a light dusting of snow. To add to the above stories, from what I was told, this was also the castle where Date Masamune, fashionably late to the battle of Odawara, dressed as a dead man to make his apologies to Hideyoshi, and saved his life by this show. Also, supposedly during a toilet break, this is the place where Hideyoshi suggested Ieyasu should consider a castle base in the east, the Eastern Capital that went on to become the great city of Tokyo.
  • RaymondW on My Page    November 25, 2011 at 03:48 PM
    For castle fans who like stone walls, this is a fine castle ruin to visit. You can easily visit this castle and Odawara Castle in one day. The photos put up by the administrator of this website show the site pretty much as it is. The ishigaki has fallen apart in places, but if you have a map of the castle (found in some castle books written in Japanese), it is pretty easy to navigate around this castle. For a spot to get a top photo of Odawara Castle, take the more direct road (actually little lane) up to the castle through the mandarin orchards. About halfway up, there is a very good spot to get a photo of Odawara Castle if you have a decent zoom lens on your camera. BTW, this is the second time Toyotomi Hideyoshi built an “overnight castle” to demoralize his opponents. The first time was with Sunomata Castle in present day Gifu Prefecture.
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Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture
Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle views
stone walls, bailey
stone walls, Ido Bailey.
honmaru bailey stone walls honmaru bailey
nishikuruwa Minami kuruwa
view from the honmaru map