14 New profiles from ART

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14 New profiles from ART

2020/02/07


ART, the dauntless castle explorer, is at it again. Not only does he visit castles at a mind boggling pace, but he's been uploading photos to his Facebook page and kindly making contributions the this humble website. The castles mapped below are all new contributions to the site. Additionally he has added the following samurai residences and ne photos for some other castles.

Samurai Residences

Added Castle Photos

New Castles

AkizukihanMinamiGoten (1).JPG

More ishizumi (stone-pilings) can be found on the hillside and below, adjacent to a small waterway, although their stones may have been recycled and replaced over the years.
Chikuzen Fukutake Castle / 筑前福嶽城

ChikuzenFukutakejou (3).JPG

I ascended the mount from the backyard of the Tashiro-bukeyashiki and came down by the shrine's causeway.
Chikuzen Sakata Castle / 筑前坂田城

ChikuzenSakatajou (31).JPG

Sakatajō proved much more challenging than I first anticipated. First I climbed to the shrine to Hachiman. Up and down the hill I noticed terracing on the slopes which formerly, I must suppose, constituted small enclosures. At the bottom of the hill was a large and fetid tarn which, I knew from a map, separated me from a large trench. I tried to descend from the shrine and came across several kuruwa this way, but the wildlife was something like a jungle and rain had made the embankments slippery, causing me to slip and slide about. After crashing through the undergrowth and managing to claw my way out of the jungle, I descended the mount and made my way around it via paved roads. Eventually I came to a path which led to a tea plantation built on the hillside. Beyond this was the large trench I had been seeking spanned by the "tea moon" bridge. Nothing was signposted and everything was guesswork and exhausting dead ends on my part, so when I finally came upon the trench, the site's most obvious ruin, I was quite chuffed.
Funaokayama Castle / 船岡山城

Funaokayamajou (3).JPG

Funaokayamajō is a Sengoku Period Yamajiro (mountain castle) in the Kyōto Metropolis. The ruin's most salient feature is the long, winding yokobori (lateral trench) which encloses its baileys. I had mighty fun following this trench; at a point near the top it took a sudden turn and plunged down the mountainside; at the other end it snakes about in a "U"-shape before sloping off.
Hizen Kashima Castle / 肥前鹿島城

HizenKashimajou (6).JPG

Kashimajō has survivng baileys, moats, ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) and extant structures, prinicpally two gates. The largest gate, which also has dobei and a tamon-yagura (corridor turret) attached, is known as Akamon (Red Gate) due to its colour, and was constructed in 1808. The Ōtemon, a smaller gate ahead of the castle and the old bukeyashiki area of the castle town, is also red in colour, but apparently this colour scheme was adopted in modern times to match the original Akamon. A munemon formerly belonging to a bukeyashiki is also located nearby (it has not yet been painted red but did have to be extensively restored after damage by a typhoon one year). What sources are calling a tamon-yagura looked to me like it would've been used as a bansho (guardhouse) with a large projecting mushamado, since it no longer connects to any other structures apart from the yakuimon-style Akamon. The castle town is also a major feature of visiting this site. The streets around the castle are lined with traditional walls and gates and terraced with ishigaki. The surrounding environs include potentially a half-dozen or more bukeyashiki (samurai homes) but information about them is scarce. They are either the private homes of citizens, and in this capacity some of them have been heavily modified, or, regrettably, are now abandoned and falling into ruin. Since I couldn't believe that such structures would simply be allowed to rot, I wondered if these weren't maybe Meiji Period or later residences rebuilt on the sites of former bukeyashiki, and maybe that's true for the one's falling to pieces, but multiple sources online refer to the homes in general as being bukeyashiki.
Itazuke Moated Settlement / 板付環濠集落

ItazukeKangoushuuraku (2).JPG

Itadzuke-kangōshūraku is the restored and reconstructed fortified village of one of the oldest such settlements in Japanese history and the earliest confirmed rice-growing community. Next to the restored village is a museum displaying artifacts and models.
Jurakudai / 聚楽第

Jurakudai (4).JPG

There is not much left to see of Jurakudai today apart from a few relocated structures. Principal among these is the Hiunkaku, "Floating Cloud Pavilion", now located at Nishi-Honganji. Hiunkaku is difficult to get a good look at because it isn't open to the public, and so I've provided here a painting of the structure. I visited the former site of Jurakudai's main area, which is marked in a couple of locations by a stone marker, and this I considered a formal visitation, although there were no ruins to see. Then I proceeded on to two relocated gates of Jurakudai. The first was a smaller gate located at Myōkakuji. Functioning as the temple's main gate, it looks like a usual gate we might find at a castle; namely it is a Kōraimon type gate with supporting wings at the rear. Next I visited the Chokushimon (Imperial Envoy Gate) located at Daitokuji. This is a large and ornate Karamon (gabled) type gate with an elegant shingled roof. Other relocated structures exist elsewhere in Kyōto and beyond.
Mizuki / 水城

Mizuki (2).JPG

A small museum has been built into the embankment beneath the hill. Why it was built into the earthwork like a bunker I don't know, but I don't approve. The great embankment has further sustained damage in places where modern roads and rail have ploughed through it. However, looking at satellite imagery, a long line of green can still be seen, though perforated in places, bisecting the plain. What was formerly mountainous terrain on the west side of the plain has been flattened / terraced and developed over. "Mizuki" means "Water Wall" or "Water Fortress", the name deriving from its moats. "Ki" is the old reading for "Castle". The defensive network around Dazaifu is actually made up of at least seven distinct sites, including Dazaifu itself with its fortified palace and government center. A smaller embankment-wall can be found to the south, Sekiya Dorui (Checkpoint Embankment). Other than Shomizuki, Mizuki, Ōnojō (Ōno-ki?), and the Sekiya Dorui, there were the mountain fortresses of Kiijō and Ashikisanjō. One day I hope to be able to make a full inspection of all of these sites. As it was we had only time that day for Mizuki and Ōnojō.
Mukaijima Castle / 向島城

FushimiMukaijimajou (1).JPG

Nothing remains of Mukaijimajō today, and only a signpost stands to tell its history.
Myoukenji Castle / 妙顕寺城

Myoukenjijou (5).JPG

Nothing remains, and there is only a sign marker, but the site is interesting in tracing the history of the Toyotomi Era in Kyoto.
Najima Castle / 名島城

Najimajou (5).JPG

Only the remnants of earthworks, baileys and trace amounts of ishigaki remain. A former turret platform is discernable. Now the castle's honmaru is cleared and its lower baileys contain religious structures and some houses.
Odoi / 御土居

Odoi (20).JPG

I cycled around on a rented bicycle touring the remaining segments of the O'Doi. The most significant remains of the O'Doi are located in the city's northwest, but remains are scattered about in over a dozen locations across the city.
Shigetsu Fushimi Castle / 指月伏見城

Shigetsu (1).JPG

The unearthed stone wall remains of this castle, discovered during the redevelopment of an apartment complex, are now on display to the public.
Suzaki Battery / 須崎台場

SuzakiDaiba (1).JPG

There's not much at the site today, which is now a park, and no longer on the sea, following land reclamation, but there remains ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts), cut and piled in the traditional way, and dorui (earthen embankments) in one corner.
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