Wakimoto Castle was built after Ando Chikasue reunited the Hiyama Ando and Minato Ando clans. It seems that there was an ancient fortification at the actual peak of the mountain which is now called Umanoriba. Being the top of the mountain and having several baileys and embankments it is thought to have been more than just a satellite fortification of Wakimoto Castle, but an older site from which Ando Chikasue may have expanded Wakimoto Castle to the more suitable flatter areas on the southern slope.
After the death of Chikasue, the Minato Ando rebelled and Chikasue's son, Sanasue, who fled Wakimoto Castle to Hiyama Castle. Eventually the rebellion was put down. Minato Castle was developed into a large flatland castle around this time, but Wakimoto Castle was retained until the arrival of the Satake. The Satake holdings were vast in the area, nearly 4 times the size of the Ando holdings, so they built the new Kubota Castle and Wakimoto Castle was abandoned around 1590-1602.
Wakimoto Castle is one of the Next 100 Castles and the last of the three famous Ando castles, including Hiyama Castle and Minato Castle. The castle is on a hilltop along the coast of the Oga Peninsula. Across the hilltop are several terraced baileys of living quarters. The outer baileys were also encircled by an earthen embankment. Typically these embankments are for defensive purposes, but when I was here on this very windy day I noticed that they also make a great wind block. Given the location of this castle on a notoriously cold and windy peninsula I can only think that these embankments were more for fighting back the wind and snow than fighting back attackers.
There is a small building partway up the mountain where you will find a model of the castle and some very good pamphlets. The same pamphlets are available on the website so check the link there too. This castle is much more accessible than I thought (a castles that's easier than I thought for once!). There were maps at the station and the castle did not seem as far from the station as I thought either, followed by a quick climb up the hill. There were maps at the station about how to get to the castle too. The biggest problem is that there are not many trains along this train line. On the way back, I waited over an hour for the next train, having just missed one.
The Umanoriba is a bailey about a 10min walk from the main part of the castle. It's a nice walk, but a little slippery and narrow in some places. If you're interested in castles enough to visit Wakimoto Castle it's worth walking out here too but the trail from the northern part of the castle is easy to miss. Look at the map of photos below and you can clearly see how this section looks like a different castle location.
|English Name||Wakimoto Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Wakimoto Station (Oga Line), 30 min walk (2.5km)|
|Visitor Information||mountain park, open 24/7|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Oga, Akita Prefecture|
|Coordinates||39° 54' 6.62" N, 139° 53' 19.43" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||2020|
|Admin Visits||November 13, 2020|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Kojodan - Wakimoto-jo|
|Oshiro Meguro Fan - Wakimoto-jo|
|Shirobito - Wakimoto-jo|
|Ken's Castle Storage - Wakimoto Castle|
|Jokaku Horoki - Wakimoto-jo|