Yogaisan Castle 要害山城
Founder Takeda Nobutora
Year 1520
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Yogaiyama-jo, Yogai-jo, Yogaizan-jo, Sekisuiji-jo, Maruyama-no-shiro
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Location Kofu, Yamanashi Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Kofu Sta. (Chou Main line), 20 min bus to Sekisuiji Onsen
Website Yamanashi Sightseeing
Visited March 18, 2017
Visitor Info. Mountain trails, open any time. Start from the Sekisuiji Hot Spring. | Time Required: 120-150 mins
Notes A lot of places tell you to take a bus from the station but there are only a few busses per day and the timings aren't great for hiking the castle. Some places say you can walk from the Tsutsujigasaki Palace but that would be a long uphill walk on paved roads to get to the Sekisuiji Onsen. I took a taxi (1800 yen) to the onsen from the station. I hiked the castle and walked back to the Tsutsujigasaki Palace and then took the tourist bus on to Kofu Station and Kofu Castle which seemed to be a very efficient way of doing it (actually I went down via Kuma Castle from Yogaisan Castle too, but that's a treacherous path I can't recommend for beginners.)

It seems there is some confusion how easy it is to climb and how interesting the site it. Personally I thought it was absolutely outstanding. The mountain ridge is bailey after bailey. Each is well defined with nice ruins of gates and entrances and a lot more stonework than you typically find around this area. There are also several trenches you can easily see. From the Sekisuiji Onsen it's a steep but short climb up several switchbacks. It's not a jogging trail but there may be some trail runners who use it. Once you get to the ruins, the rest is easy. A lot of the trees have been thinned out but that also means there are lots of weeds, especially in the summer, so I would recommend visiting in late fall or early spring after the snows melt.

History Built in 1520 by Takeda Nobutora. This site served as a regional centre and office for the Takeda clan and also as a mountain stronghold for Tsutsujigasaki Yakata. Yogaisan Castle is on top of a steep mountain and had lots of masugata, koguchi and kuruwa as well as occasional vertical moats, making it very defensible. It was also protected by Kuma Castle to the south-east. After the demise of the Takeda, the castle briefly came under control of the Tokugawa until it was given over to Kato Mitsuyasu by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The stone wall remnants you see today are believed to be form this time period. After the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), the Kai Region once again fell under Tokugawa control and the castle was abandoned.
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Comment on this castle
  • Eric    April 09, 2017 at 08:48 PM
    The profile photos and comments above were updated on Apr 9, 2017. Please revert to them for more detailed comments about visiting this site.
  • Kris    September 17, 2012 at 09:01 PM
    I'm very sorry if the information here caused you to have a bad time. The information I supplied was accurate to the best of my knowledge as at December 2011. The season may have had something to do with the view and quality of the trail – perhaps this castle is better in winter without leafy trees blocking the views (I could see Mt Fuji quite clearly) and weeds covering the track – the track was clear and easy to walk when I went. In any case, I am very sorry if you found it misleading. Steepness and value of what is remaining is subjective – it's always good to have another opinion. The monument isn't much to look at but it is a stone saying this is the place Takeda Shingen was born, and the writing was even inscribed by Togo Heihachiro, so I guess it depends on what history you are looking for as to how much you enjoy a place. It's interesting you mention the smallness – I guess the smallness of the castle was why Shingen used Tsutsujigasaki Yakata as his base, and also possibly why Katsuyori felt the need to build a new, larger castle as the capital and in order to combat the Oda advance.
  • Craig    September 15, 2012 at 07:24 PM
    The information given here was wrong and very misleading! I've just got home from a big hike to this castle. It is not reachable by a well mainted joggers road for the final km or so, there you have to hike up a mountain along a very steep and somewhat badly maintained path, It is quite a struggle and takes a good half hour (and this is after an hour or so's walk from the station). At the top there isn't too much to be seen. A little monument and some still visible outline of the outer walls. Looks like it was once a very small castle indeed! The views too aren't that spectacular due to all the trees. Onlk really recommended if you live in Yamanashi and fancy some hiking.
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Kofu, Yamanashi Pref.
Yogaisan Castle views
Stonework near the entrance Small bailey overlooking a road
Stonework and gate inside the gate
Fudo Bailey Stone walls and gate
Bailey Entranceway
horikiri and stonework Stonework of the horikiri
Stonework on the right side Stonework on the right side
stonework of the horikiri Bailey entrance
Bailey Bailey
Stonework and entrance of the Main Bailey Stonework of the entrance
Entrance to the Main Bailey Main Bailey
Main Bailey entrance Main bailey stone walls
Horikiri trench Stonework lined horikiri trench
Narrow "earthen bridge" Narrow bailey
Bailey Entrance Stonework
Stonework Tatebori trenches
Map Map