Ogaki Castle, Gifu Castle and Kano Castle Updated

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Ogaki Castle, Gifu Castle and Kano Castle Updated

2020/07/19


Just about a year ago in August 2019, the stars aligned for a group of foreign born castle geeks to gather in Nagoya for 3 days of castle exploration. A few beers were also imbibed and plates of chicken wings consumed; all in all some good times were had. The first day saw nearly 40'C weather as we visited Ogaki Castle, Kano Castle, and Gifu Castle. These profiles have finally been updated here. I had not been to Gifu Castle nor Ogaki Castle in over 20 years. It was amazing to revisit these sites with new knowledge and a better appreciation of castles that I have gained in the interim and I'm happy to finally update the profiles for this site.


Gifu Castle / 岐阜城

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Trees and brush around the stone walls of the top have been cleared to make much better views of the stonework and the main keep together. Other than the foundation and some walls around it, there is not much remaining stonework around the top of the mountain, but every now and then new discoveries are being made. On a good day, the views from the top are stunning and simply worth the trip to the top just for the views. You can easily understand why a castle was built here. With such a commanding view you could feel on top of the world.

The most exciting parts of Gifu Castle however are actually at the base of the mountain. The past several years has seen several excavations, discoveries and restorations in the area where Nobunaga built a lavish palace. Work continues today so look forward to more developments in the future.

The mountain is a bit steep but there are also hiking trails you can use to climb rather than the cable car.

My GPS device was not working well at Gifu Castle so some of the photo locations may be off.
Kano Castle / 加納城

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Kano Castle was a vast castle, but only the Honmaru is preserved as the Kano Park today. The moat around the honmaru is long gone now but that does allow you to get up close to the impressive castle walls. From the inside of the honmaru you can see the nicely preserved high earthen embankments.

Kano Castle is best visited in combination with Gifu Castle. Historically speaking you might want to visit Gifu Castle first and imagine the differences between these two closely related castles.

This Excavation Survey Report is in Japanese but has a lot of great illustrations of the castle territory and photos of the excavation process.

There are also three gates that I know of that are said to have been moved from Kano Castle, but I did not have time to look for them on this trip. I think they are fairly far from the castle itself.
Ogaki Castle / 大垣城

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Ogaki Castle is a short walk from the station and has some interesting stonework (including kokuin and fossils, if you can find them!) and a nice small park and museum to enjoy. At the museum entrance you can also buy a small booklet about the stone walls that points out the kokuin and fossils for you to find. It's only a 100 yen entrance fee and I think the booklet was another 100-200 yen so it could be a fun way to entertain kids. The rivers around the castle were also used as moats and natural defenses so I would recommend walking along these on the way to and from the castle. There are some photos below. It is unfortunate that the castle was once a National Treasure until it burned down in WWII.
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