It is unknown for sure but it is thought that the Uesugi Clan built Ôminejō in their wars against the Takeda Clan as the castle was a key stronghold in the Kawanakajima Campaign. Ômine Kurōdo is thought to have been castellan; he was a vassal of the Ochiai Clan. The faux reconstructed tenshu dates to 1962. It was initially an observation tower and was then converted into a bug and nature museum in 1981. It has been closed since 2007.
Ôminejō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin consisting of earthworks such as trenches, earthen ramparts and kuruwa (baileys). Aside from these real remains of the fortress, there is also a big, fat folly, which I suppose we could generously call a faux reconstruction. I'm not against it per se, although earth piled-up at the rear of the tower I don't know whether is part of the original ramparts or heaped there as a result of clearing enough space for the tower. Concrete castle towers which are either speculative or don't represent any structure proven to have existed historically are called, in Japanese, mogi-tenshu (模擬天守), "faux keeps". Lots of them were built in the post-war boom period. The one at Ôminejō is unfortunately a rather poor jobby, featuring a large garage-like entrance with rusting shutters, and "windows" in the stone base. There are two balcony areas which appear fantasian, and some strange design motifs. A faux gatehouse is also located at the base of the shukuruwa (main bailey). Ishigaki (stone-pilings) can be found throughout the site but it appears to have been built as part of the "reconstruction", and so is modern. It looks okay in some places though. Well, it's not the worst attempt at a reconstruction I've seen but it's still on the worse side, and if it was done better I might even be able to approve of it, ahistorical though it may be. Needless to say, this tower is no longer open, and has started to become dilapidated, which little pieces falling off here and there. Probably it will be demolished at some point, so I'm glad I visited before then. I've actually been to a site expecting to find a mogi-tenshu only to find it already demolished before (Mutsu-Iwasakijō)! The tower can actually be seen from Zenkōji, but it's small and easy to miss; I didn't even notice it the first time I came to Nagano.
|English Name||Ohmine Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||3 levels, 4 floors|
|Artifacts||Dorui, Hori, Kuruwa, Mogi-Tenshu, Gatehouse, Ishigaki|
|Features||main keep, gates, trenches, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Zenkoujishita Station on the Nagano Line; 35 minute walk to trailhead next Hanchasan'amidaji|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; Tower is now closed (forever)|
|Time Required||50 minutes|
|Location||Nagano, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 40' 32.48" N, 138° 10' 36.91" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle|