|Alternate Name||Kasumiga-jo, Akakabe-jo, Takamori-jo|
|Admin's Rating||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆|
|Historical Site||National Historic Site|
|Location||Nakatsugawa, Gifu Pref.|
|Access||Nakatsugawa Sta. (Chuo Line) 15min Bus|
|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|
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.
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).