Naegi Castle 苗木城
Founder Tôyama Naokado
Toyama
Year 1532
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Kasumiga-jo, Akakabe-jo, Takamori-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Location Nakatsugawa, Gifu Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Nakatsugawa Sta. (Chuo Line) 15min Bus
Website Naegi Castle
Visited May 2, 2014
Visitor Info. The castle site is always open, free. The museum is open 9:30am-5pm. 320 yen. Closed Mondays (unless a holiday, in which case, closed Tuesday) and 12/27-1/5. | Time Required: 2 hrs
Notes This is an amazing site and highly recommended for any castle fans despite not having any buildings. The stonework is much more extensive than I had even imagined. The site is well maintained with many signs and great views of the surrounding valleys. This makes it an enjoyable site for anyone. Take your time and be sure to explore all the paths, There is some great stonework and views hidden around the shikirimon area too.

From Nakatsugawa station, take the bus No1 to "Naegi". Takes 15min and costs 380Y. From here, walk 1.5km in the south. If you want to visit other sites in the area, it may be worth taking a taxi for around 2000 yen. If you see other tourist looking types at the station you may be able to split a taxi.

History The Toyama clan were lords over this area going back to the 1200's. Naegi Castle itself was built in 1532. In 1583 the Toyama lost control of Naegi Castle in an attack by Mori Nagayoshi and Kawajiri Hidenaga became the new castle lord. Kawajiri died at the Battle of Sekigahara and Naegi Castle was returned to the Toyama clan but Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Toyama clan continued to rule for 12 generations until the Meiji Resoration when when the castle was dismantled in 1871.

In the Edo Period, many mountaintop castles were abandoned in favor of building more accessible castles, but the Toyama clan kept the castle their family had built up over generations. The castle deftly makes use of many of the natural rock outcroppings and boulders found on the mountain. Look at some of the photos of the model of the castle and artist's renderings that can be found at the website link above. Also note that the buildings have a reddish tint to them. They did not coat the clay walls with white plaster earning the castle the nickname of "Red Wall Castle" (Akakabe-jo).

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  • RaymondW on My Page    November 30, 2013 at 09:34 PM
    My wife and I went to this castle ruin in early October. We took a taxi from Natsugawa Station. It costs around 2,000yen, but I think it saved us a lot of time because of the intermittent buses, and the fact that the nearest bus stop is around a good half an hour walk away to the castle museum and trailhead. Entry into the castle ruin is free, but if you want to see the displays inside the castle museum, it will cost you 310yen. There is a nice model of what the castle looked in its Sengoku days along with the usual displays of armour, weapons and artifacts related to the castle. They have a nice booklet for sale (only 500yen and in Japanese) and worth buying if you want some kind of detailed reference material for Naegi Castle. Well, I don’t know how this isn’t a Top 100 castle because it has plenty of original and restored ishigaki and earthen ramparts. The design of the castle is also quite rare in that the whole castle was built on this hill full of rocky outcrops and massive boulders which have been cleverly integrated into its defensive features and stone walls. The original castle had a lot of its buildings hanging over some of the steep sides, supported by wooden pillars anchored to the steep rocky cliffs. The lookout at the Honmaru tries to recapture some of this architectural feature. The view from the lookout is absolutely fabulous. In the distance looms Mt Ena, which Japanese hikers consider to be one of the top mountains for bushwalking in Japan. We were very lucky as we went to Naegi Castle on a fine day, so we could really enjoy a clear view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. This is a wonderful castle ruin worthy of three stars because of the unusual design, great views, few tourists (not discovered by the masses yet like Takeda Castle), and a good castle museum.
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Nakatsugawa, Gifu Pref.
Naegi Castle views
Ooyagura Remains of the foot soldiers quarters
Path to the Kazafukimon Gate and Ooyagura. Kazafukimon Gate and Ooyagura
Stone walls of the Ooyagura. Ooyagura
Stairs to the top of the Ooyagura Ooyagura stone walls.
Ooyagura Top of the Ooyagura.
Entrance to the Ooyagura Kakarimon Gate
Takemon Gate Kakarimon and Ooyagura
Site of the Ohmon Gate. Watakuramon Gate
Stone wall along the route to the Honmaru Route to the Honmaru
Remains of the Sakashitamon Gate Honmaru stone walls
Honmaru stone walls Foundation stones of the armory
Main keep foundation Honmaru stone walls main keep foundation
Main keep foundation View from the main keep foundation.
Main keep entrance Base of the main keep
Stone entrance to the main keep. Stone wall and a large boulder.
Foundation stones of the lord's palace Small stone walls
Stone walls Stone steps
Stone wall restoration Stone walls of the Fumeimon Gate
Stone walls of the Obikuruwa Bailey. Stone walls of the Obikuruwa Bailey
Stone walls near the Shikirimon Gate Stone walls between the Ninomaru and Sannomaru
Ninomaru stone walls. Ninomaru Stone walls
Stone walls between the Ninomaru and Sannomaru Sannomaru stone walls