The earliest origins of Koriyama Castle are unknown, but there are some indications that the Mori had a Yoshida Castle here in the 1300's. it seems likely that it was the old Koriyama Castle or Koriyama Honjo Castle on a southeastern ridge. The castle was expanded in the 1500's to the castle you see today covering most of the mountaintop and the side facing the town. It had stone walls around the central compound, buildings with clay tiled roofs and residences for high ranking retainers and soldiers. The vast mountain fortress was like a combination of a Sengoku Mountaintop Castle and later castles that combined military functions, political power and residences for the lord and retainers. In 1540, the Amako, who had been steadily amassing power attacked the castle with over 30,000 soldiers. The 3,000 defenders held out for four months until a relief force from the Ouchi arrived with 10,000 men. Another force from the Shishido also arrived to turn the tide against the Amako. Amako Hisayuki was killed in battled as the Amako took heavy losses and eventually retreated a month later.
Koriyama castle was abandoned in 1591 when the Mori moved to their new castle, Hiroshima Castle.
This is a huge mountaintop castle. The main compound is at the peak with numerous smaller baileys going down each of the ridges radiating out from the top. Look at the map here in the brochure or the map below with the pinned photos for an idea of this. Around the Honmaru and Ninomaru at the top you see the remains of stone walls all over. There is also a sub castle or smaller set of castle ruins on the southeast slope which was the site of the original castle from which the vast mountain fortress expanded.
The trails through the main parts are easy to follow and it is very well signposted making it enjoyable and understandable even for inexperienced mountain castle fans. The walking is fairly easy for a mountain and I saw people who were not dressed for typical mountaintop castles. That being said, you can also go off trail down some of these ridges to see smaller baileys and trenches too. If you want to see the old castle ruins the trail is steep and slippery so you need good shoes and a trekking pole would be nice. I saw some people turn back, but it's worth the trip down.
I had originally planned for about 3 hours on site and thought I could visit another castle this day, but I ended up spending over 5 hours exploring everything I could. Instead of visiting another castle I went to the Akitakata City Museum which turned out to be surprisingly good. There was a lot of information about the castles in the Akitakata area and I picked up a booklet of maps and details for 60 of them.
There are actually several different ways to get to the castle. The route I gave above seems to be the best for someone traveling from Hiroshima. You can also take a 15 minute taxi from the Mukaihara Sta. (Geibi Line) or other combinations of trains and busses.
|English Name||Koriyama Castle|
|Alternate Names||Yoshida Koriyama-jo|
|Year Founded||14th C.|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Yokogawa Sta (San'yo Line) 80 min bus to Yoshida Elementary School, 15 min walk to trail head|
|Visitor Information||Mountain, open any time|
|Time Required||300 mins|
|Location||Akitakata, Hiroshima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 40' 25.03" N, 132° 42' 34.24" E|
|Visits||November 9, 2018|
|Added to Jcastle||2019|