Takao Castle's origins are unclear but it was used in 1488 by Togashi Masachika, governor of Kaga Province, to oppose the Kaga Ikkō-Ikki. Togashi Masachika had been forced out of Kaga by his brother, Koshiyo Masachika, but with the outbreak of the Ōnin War in 1467, Togashi saw his opportunity to regain control and brokered an alliance with the League. This war had a religious dimension too because Togashi supported the Honganji faction of Pure Land Buddhism whilst Koshiyo supported the Takada faction. The League helped Togashi back to power and he was reinstated as the ruler of Kaga Province after defeating his brother. However, the Ikkō-Ikki felt that once back in power their new governor was not upholding the promises he had made to their movement and began a long series of rebellions. Togashi Masachika wished to garner the support of the Ashikaga Shogunate in dealing with his local problems and so agreed to participating in a foray against Rokkaky Tokoyori in Ōmi Province. After his depature for Ōmi, however, the League made their move, whipping up a rebellion involving hundreds of thousands. Togashi immediately returned to his province when he found out, coming to Takaojō. It was here in 1488 that the Ikkō-Ikki swarmed him and he fell on his own sword as the castle fell. Takaojō was destroyed and abandoned.
Takaojō is known locally for its views of Kanazawa. When we went there there were a great number of grasshoppers of many different species. Each step brough them up out the grass like a ripple in a puddle. The largest was a female of a green variety which is camouflaged in grass (look closely at the picture of the grass!). And I also saw a snake likely trying to eat said grasshoppers; it had a reddish tint around the neck. As for the castle, a series of concentric rings create a semi-circular terrace around the central bailey. The effect is so uniform that I wasn't sure it wasn't modern in truth. Each tier is surmounted by a curving row of trees (probably cherry blossoms). This effect can be seen on satellite imagery of the site. Half of the castle mount is now covered in bamboo. The castle also likely extended down that way, and I think I identified a horikiri (trench) there, but there are signs warning visitors not to go on. Off limits then is the kojō (old castle) which predates the bailey of that which we came to. Apparently there are ishigaki remains at the old castle.
|English Name||Takao Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Nikujutakumae Station on the Hokuriku Ishikawa Line; 30 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free|
|Time Required||30 mins|
|Location||Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 30' 51.59" N, 136° 38' 12.73" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2019|