Hanazono Castle, Hanazono Mitake Castle, Kanao Yogaisan Castle

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Hanazono Castle, Hanazono Mitake Castle, Kanao Yogaisan Castle

2018/04/28

This was a great day hike out in the far reaches of Saitama Prefecture. Hanazono Castle is one that I've wanted to visit for a long time but was somewhat hesitant due to a lack of information. After all it was a fantastic ruin to visit and highly recommended for any castle fans. I can't believe it took me so long to visit. The day was rounded out by a walk to the nearby defensive satellite castle Hanazono Mitake Castle and then on to Kanao Yogaisan Castle farther down the valley.

Hanazono Castle / 花園城

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This was an amazing castle ruin to visit. There was a lot more stonework here than I had imagined. The ruins are more vast and easily identifiable than I had thought too. Look at the map on this site to see how complex the castle is/was. I spent close to 3 hours exploring and taking hundreds of photos. Be aware that there are no signs nor trails so you need to take advantage of your mountain castle instincts and adventurous attitude to find it all. There are good maps and information in the 廃城をゆく book to help you out. Some people may say it's difficult to navigate and that you need a guide, but I didn't think so. Hanazono Mitake Castle, a satellite fortification of Hanazono Castle is also a short walk away at the Shorinji Temple.
Hanazono Mitake Castle / 花園御岳城

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From Hanazono Castle it's a short walk (10-15 mins) around the back side of the mountain to the Shorinji Temple. From here you can walk up the Gohyaku Rakan (五百羅漢 ) trail to get to the castle ruins. There are no signs for the castle so you'll need to figure things out for yourself. As you reach the wide open area at the top of the trail in this photo you'll immediately see a trail off to the left that goes down a little to another sign pole. Keep following this trail up the ridge past the sign pole (do not follow the arrow going down the mountain, you'll end up at the lake!) to the top of the mountain where you'll find another small shrine, seen in the photo above. This is the castle ruin. The shrine is the main bailey and there are a couple trenches you can see around it. This is a simple fortification. 2 main baileys, a couple smaller side baileys, a clear yokobori trench, a couple clear tatebori trenches a couple other trenches. It’s too heavily wooded to see anything but it would have had great views to survey the surroundings.
Kanao Yogaisan Castle / 金尾要害山城

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Kanao Yogaisan Castle is mainly known for being an azalea park and having good views down the valley. I don't think there were any signs pointing out the castle ruins. In fact, even with a good map it's hard to pick out any ruins. I don't often say this, but it's hard to recommend a visit to this castle unless you happen to be here and want to go up to enjoy the views. Nearby Hachigata Castle is a must see castle nearby.
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