Akutagawasan Castle 芥川山城
Founder Hosokawa Takakuni
Year 1515
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Miyoshisan Castle
Admin's Rating ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Location Takatsuki City, Osaka
Map Google Map
Access Takatsuki Sta. (JR Tokaido Line), bus, 20 min walk
Website Takatsuki City - Akutagawasan Castle
Visited December 23, 2016
Visitor Info. The site is mostly untouched and the hiking trails are lightly maintained by volunteers. Private property, be considerate. | Time Required: 75 mins
Notes Like many earlier Sengoku Period yamajiro ruins, there are no structures left apart from some stone wall remnants, the remains of some baileys, earthen embankments, and dry moats. Once you get off at the Gakuenmae bus stop, it is around 20 minutes walk to the trailhead. This castle ruin is an easy hike, but some of the baileys are too overgrown with bamboo and other undergrowth to make them out clearly. When I visited in mid-March 2013, the main bailey and its adjacent baileys were fairly well kept with the grass and undergrowth trimmed. Also, it was impossible to get into the cluster of baileys around the central section and the southern baileys of the eastern section of the fortress complex because they have been fenced off to keep out wild deers and boars.

Profile, Notes and most photos by RaymondW.

History In 1515, Hosokawa Takakuni commanded one of his senior retainers, Nose Yorinori, to construct a castle on top of a 182m mountain near the strategic junction of three provinces: Settsu (present day southern part of Hyogo Prefecture and western part of Osaka Prefecture), Kawachi (present day eastern part of Osaka Prefecture), and Yamashiro (present day southern part of Kyoto Prefecture). Akutagawasan Castle also sits astride the Takatsuki-Kameoka Road.

In July 1553, Miyoshi Nagayoshi besieged the castle for a month, cutting off the food supply and starving the defenders into submission. Afterwards, he moved into Akutagawasan Castle from Koshimizu Castle in Nishinomiya. In 1560, Miyoshi Nagayoshi relocated to Iimoriyama Castle in Kawachi Province, leaving his son Miyoshi Yoshioki in charge of Akutagawasan Castle. However, Yoshioki died in 1563 from suspected poisoning and the castle passed into the hands of the Wada Clan. In 1573, the final lord of the castle, Takayama Ukon decommissioned Akutagawasan Castle and made Takatsuki Castle his main castle.

Akutagawasan Castle is a good example of an early to mid-Sengoku period yamajiro utilizing the terrain to heighten its defensive capabilities. It is surrounded on three sides by the U-curve of Akuta River with steep slopes running up from the river to the castle. The natural defensive advantages are augmented by dry moats, earthen embankments, outlying small baileys acting as listening posts, and some stone walls added during the Miyoshi reign. Akutagawasan Castle is a fortress complex divided into three main sections, the western cluster of baileys where the main bailey is located, the central cluster of baileys and the eastern cluster of baileys.

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Takatsuki City, Osaka
Akutagawasan Castle views
Stone walls Stone walls
Stone walls Trailhead to the castle ruin
Entrance to the baileys adjacent and below the main bailey in the western cluster View of the Honmaru bailey
Honmaru bailey View from the honmaru bailey
Obi-kuruwa below the main bailey Bailey adjacent and below main bailey
View of Mt Miyoshi Terraced baileys in the eastern cluster of baileys
The biggest and highest bailey of the eastern cluster Earthen bridge
Tatedorui in the eastern cluster of baileys Entrance on the other side of the earthen bridge
Ote stone walls Stone walls
Bailey Stone walls
Stone lined well Bailey
Map at the bus stop