Kodera Masataka, vassal of the Akamatsu clan, built Gochaku Castle in 1519. Kodera was the castellan of Himeji Castle and may have built this as added fortification along the Sanyodo Highway and as a retirement castle for himself. It was a large castle including a castle town. With Miki Castle and Araga Castle, it was one of the "Three Great Harima Castles". For a time, Himeji Castle was actually the satellite castle of Gochaku Castle. Gochaku Castle was taken by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1579 and decommissioned.
The castle may be most well known today, as the home of the Kuroda clan, including Kuroda Yoshitaka (Kuroda Kanbei). Yoshitaka's grandfather, Shigetaka, moved the family to Gochaku Castle from the Omi Province (present day Nagahama). The Kuroda family were the castellans of Himeji Castle and did much of the renovations before Hideyoshi took control. Kuroda Yoshitaka was the one who surrendered the castle to Hideyoshi. There is a small mausoleum on the site to Yoshitaka's grandfather, Shigetaka and mother, Akashi.
There is not much to see here but it is an easy walk from nearby Gochaku Station and an easy castle to drop by if you have some time after visiting Himeji Castle. Even though it was a fairly large castle it has been mostly developed over. There is a small portion of earthen embankment nearby that is thought to date to the original castle. Excavations have also found cornerstones and moats. It is most famous today for the Kuroda family mausoleum and is often listed as an attraction in Kuroda related history sites.
The stone bridge on the site is not related to the castle but is an interesting historical artifact. It was built over the Amakawa River in 1828. It is now preserved here arching over the remnant of one of the moats of Gochaku Castle. The extra stones are from making the bridge shorter to fit the location.
|English Name||Gochaku Castle|
|Alternate Names||Amagawa-jo, Chausuyama-jo|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Gochaku Station (JR Kobe Line),10 min. walk|
|Visitor Information||Park, open 24/7|
|Time Required||10 mins|
|Location||Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 49' 6.67" N, 134° 44' 27.24" E|
|Visits||February 28, 2019|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|