The Ema Clan Yakata was in place by the Muromachi Period at the latest. Takaharasuwa Castle was their main fortification with the Yakata in the valley below being the main residence. A ring of fortifications surrounded Ema-yakata. Successive defeats in 1582 and 1585 led to the annihilation of the Ema Clan. It is thought that the Yakata was abandoned as early as 1564 as operations moved to nearby Kamioka Castle, perhaps due to its upgraded defensive infrastructure (deeper, wider moats; plus overlooking a cliff face). The decision was made by Takeda Shingen whom the Ema had submitted to.
Yakata were the fortified manor houses of land-holding warriors. In the Heian Period power gradually moved from the capital, Heian (Kyōto), and the Imperial Court, to the land-owning warrior caste. These samurai, originally servants, later masters, built bukeyashiki (warrior residences) and eventually larger administrative centers called Yakata. The Kamakura and Muromachi periods saw the establishment of many Yakata. There were intermitten conflicts however and Yamajiro (mountain castles) also began to be built during this time as temporary forts to use during times of invasion and siege. Ema(shi)-yakata, of the Ema Clan, is one of the few reconstructed Yakata. It blends elements of shinden-dzukuri and shoin-dzukuri architecture and contains a preserved medieval era garden (it was buried under rice fields and later excavated remarkably intact). Large pounded earth walls with a gate and moats surround the site. Only the main hall has been reconstructed within the walls but other structures have been mapped out with decking where they once stood. Various subsidiary buildings also existed surrounding the main compound. The main hall contains a warrior's audience chamber with a hidden room attached to conceal men-at-arms. One can see the Yakata from above if one visits the main bailey of Takaharasuwajō. Another castle site is nearby, Higashimachijō / Kamiokajō, which features a faux reconstructed keep.
|English Name||Ema Yakata|
|Year Founded||Muromachi Period|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Designations||National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Karabori, heavy earthen walls, gate, manor building, garden|
|Features||gates, trenches, walls|
|Access||Nearest Station is probably Hida-Furukawa. Need bus or taxi / car.|
|Visitor Information||10am - 4pm|
|Time Required||one hour|
|Location||Hida, Gifu Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 19' 34.39" N, 137° 18' 34.24" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2019|