Awaya Yakata

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History

Awaya-yakata was the fortified manor hall of Awaya Katsuhisa, a vassal of the Wakasa-Takeda. For more detail, refer to my article on Kuniyoshi Castle.


Visit Notes

Awaya-yakata is a yakata (fortified manor hall) site, which served as the kyokan (residential area) of Kuniyoshijō. The remains are impressive, and include many terraces which climb up the mountainside on the way to the mountaintop castle site above. Toward the bottom and centre of the kyokan there is a lot of ishigaki (stone-piled masonry) left. There is much more ishigaki here than at the castle above, and it is also markedly different to the later built ishigaki at the nearby ruins of the Sagaki-jin'ya. To the east there is another area with somewhat indeterminate earthworks, covered in snow as I found it. To the west there is a well developed area with dorui (earthen ramparts). There is a long karabori (dry moat) protecting the mountainside to the rear of the yakata.




Gallery
  • Embankment with masonry remains


Castle Profile
English Name Awaya Yakata
Japanese Name 粟屋館
Founder Awaya Katsuhisa
Year Founded 1556
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Ishigaki, Dorui, Karabori, Kuruwa
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Mihama Sation on the Obama Line; 30 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7 free; fields
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Mihama, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 36' 42.48" N, 135° 57' 45.54" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Yogo
Oshiro Tabi Nikki
Siromegu


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(one vote)
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RaymondWDaimyo

6 months ago
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@Eric, there probably is no hard and fast rule about what is one single site or two separate sites for a castle + yakata combination, but if an established castle scholar with a long list of publications and a specialist in a particular region’s castles has drawn a conclusion about a castle site, I will go with his or her informed opinion rather than what’s in blogs unless it is a blog run by a castle scholar (and the information is supported by their research.)

Hiroki’s website is magnificent and was very useful when I first got into castle-hunting years ago. It is still useful for its photo contents and sometimes the way to get to a castle that I haven’t visited before. However, for me there are just too many profiles showing temples sites and empty farmland that have zero or almost zero castle ruins and are not featured in any castle books. He’s the main one that I think of when I mentioned in my comment to ART below about people boosting their blog’s / website’s profile numbers.
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RaymondWDaimyo

6 months ago
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@ART. Yes, that opening sentence of yours in the Kuniyoshi Castle Visit Notes certainly sound like “garbled fluffy nonsense”. I had interpreted that opening sentence to mean that you were trying to say that Kuniyoshi Castle with all its baileys / ruins on this mountain is one fortress site.

In Saeki Tetsuya’s books such as 若狭中世城郭図面集 I, he mentions there is archaeological evidence (pottery / tiles / nails) that indicates the Awaya Yakata dates from the middle of the 16th century to the early 17th century, which is when the mountaintop part of Kuniyoshi Castle was also actively used. When Kuniyoshi Castle was demolished in 1615, the Awaya Yakata continued to be used by the last Kuniyoshi castellan as his residence. In another book by Saeki focusing on castles related to the Asakura Clan, he also has mentioned the same thing about the Awaya Yakata. I have a third book about mountaintop castles written by a different author who also treats Kuniyoshi Castle and the Awaya Yakata as one site in a single profile. I know you have quoted several Japanese “blog references”, but they aren’t as accurate as published books / research articles by established castle scholars. Any castle enthusiast can write a blog, but they are not as academically rigorous for their contents’ veracity as published books (professionally edited) and academic articles (vetted by experts in the field.) In some ways, using just blogs for research is like Generation Z kids who submit substandard assignments based on only checking out Wikipedia. Don’t get me wrong, Wikipedia (or other online sources) is a good starting point for any research, but it’s content must always be treated with a degree of healthy scepticism and confirmed or rejected by other more reliable published (academic) sources. Also, I get the impression that some bloggers like to break up a castle site into multiple separate sites because it is a quick way to boost the number of castle profiles on their blog and inflate their castle tally.

Saeki Tetsuya is probably the foremost expert for castles in the Hokuriku region with over a dozen books published about castles in the region. He is like Nakai Hitoshi, the castle guru for Shiga. Saeki is a castle scholar who has visited numerous sites, the president of the Hokuriku Castle Research Society, and has participated in multiple castle excavations in the Hokuriku region over many years. I’ll take what he says over a blog any day.

Regarding your questions posed, I think I have made my position clear in my earlier comment when I said, “I would only count the lord’s residence and mountaintop castle as two separate sites if they were used in completely different time periods and not concurrently.”

The two overriding things for me in whether a castle + yakata is one combined site, or two separate sites are:

1. Was the castle and yakata used concurrently? If a castle became decommissioned / was demolished and a yakata was built afterwards, then they are two sites. If a yakata had existed before the associated castle was built, and then the castle added later, but the two functioned as one combined site for the ruling lord, then it is one site.

2. More importantly, has a recognised expert in the field drew the same conclusion as to whether the castle and yakata are one combined site (covered in one profile) or two separate sites (covered in two profiles)? This could include considering the distance between a yakata and its mountaintop castle. If a castle scholar has come to an informed conclusion based on field studies and careful research, then that’s how I will consider a castle site even if my initial impression might have been different after visiting the site.
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ARTShogun

6 months ago
Score 1++
@RaymondW. I'm glad we can both agree that it's garbled, fluffy nonsense, but it's also the most academic clause I've wrote on this site for that reason, haha. As for submitting substandard assingments, I think that adequately describes my submissions to this site. If you would like to contribute academically cited, better researched profiles, I invite you to do so. You visited this site but chose not to make a profile for it. So I did. I'd love to see more from you since you're so knowledgeable, and it appears you've been to many sites the length of the country. I enjoyed your latest Ryukyu profiles. Eric will, we hope, get around to visiting all of the important sites eventually, and he can then perfect any profile. In the meantime, this is one of the outlets for my castle enthusiasm where I share what I can.
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RaymondWDaimyo

5 months ago
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@ART. I’m glad you have enjoyed the gusuku profiles that I have added to JCastle. When I have some free time, I’ll add a few more gusuku profiles. There are still gusukus that I have visited not yet up on JCastle.
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EricShogun

6 months ago
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Well, this has turned into an interesting conversation! I apologize that I'm not that familiar with this castle and do not have time to look into it right now (TBH my main books put the 2 together). I think it may be challenging to make any hard and fast rules for this sort of thing. The key is to make an informed opinion from various sources, that you are satisifed with and you can justify. I am trying to be more academic and informed in my work than some bloggers out there. I typically only use them as one reference point among several. In fact, it's one of the great things about this hobby that I appreciate most. We don't have to just read others accounts. We can visit these castles ourselves. Look at the location and design in relation to other castles. We can think about how they may have been utilized or may have worked in coordination with the network of other nearby castles and add that to our informed opinions. Nothing is better than walking the grounds of these castles and seeing with our eyes what the great and small daimyo of ages long past saw with their eyes. All the bloggers out there do fantastic work that benefits us all but they have some obvious drawbacks and biases too. Significant artistic license and some guesswork can be seen in drawing maps. Some people split a single site up into many for the sake of making it easier to introduce them in a linear blog format, even if the site itself is not actually multiple castles. Horoki is the most magnificent site out there and has recently started drawing some details maps too, but some of the sites cataloged are dubious and these splits/groupings sometimes make no sense. At least that's my 2 cents since you asked! I'm struggling much with Ichijodani right now. Is it 2 castles or 7? I'm settling on a combination of guidance from 2 books to make my own informed opinion but I'll be satisfied with the end result... if I ever get it done!
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ARTShogun

6 months ago
Score 0++

I tend to aggregate from various sources and try to determine a consensus, what is divergent, and then give my own opinion after visiting. I am under no illusion that my travelogueing is anything approaching academic. A website's format does probably determine how sites are listed even if they're not really disparate. As for personal tallies, that rests with the conscience of the castle explorer! In this case it would be perfectly reasonable to consider the yakata and yamajiro as a single, cohesive fortified space.

Ichijodani! Good, that'll be useful for when I return someday. By several forts you mean the kids and the yamajiro? I did notice a yakata appear. How can I add that to my visit list all these years later? You've done me a wicked turn you have : p
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ARTShogun

6 months ago
Score 0++
  • kido
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ARTShogun

6 months ago
Score 0++

Here's that comment again, but better formatted : )

‘Kuniyoshijō can refer to a multispatial, multilayered historic site centred on the ruins of the medieval mountaintop castle of Kuniyoshijō.’

You mean here? Yes. I wrote that because I was trying to get to grips with the site conceptually. Even though I read it back and thought it sounded like garbled, fluffy nonsense. It could be said about any castle. But the area was used militarily in some capacity all the way up until the Meiji period, with the precincts of various institutions overlapping, with new things being built whilst other areas were abandoned. For that reason treating the whole thing as a single site seemed like too much to deal with. A map I was using indicated five separate sites, but I discounted the ‘Sagaki-sekisho’. Jōkaku Hōrōki treats the yakata and the yamajiro separately. Since it was easier for me to organise that way, I did too. I further separated out the Bakumatsu period yashiki, and the Edo period jin’ya. I don’t know if it was right or wrong to do so, but it seemed convenient. Following some Japanese sources which had done the same thing, I felt confident in proceeding that way. Here are some Japanese blogs which list the yakata separately:

http://oshir...siyakata.htm

http://www.s...yayakata.htm

https://www....-jyo-kyokan/

So, as for how we should determine whether yakata / kyokan should be listed as separate sites (probably not a very meaningful discussion for their builders), I’ve put together some points:

- Does the yakata have a divergent history; does it predate the yamajiro?

- Is the yakata located far from the corresponding yamajiro; or, are the ruins contiguous?

- Do Japanese language castle blogs and websites / books list the yakata separately?

Would love to hear your and Eric’s thoughts. Now that I think about it, I was probably mostly following the last rule first and foremost, and taking cues from native bloggers. It’s fair to say Awaya-yakata only meets the last criteria here, which makes one wonder why other bloggers separated it from the yamajiro. I guess only because there’s so much to see there when compared with many other kyokan at the foot of mountains.
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ARTShogun

6 months ago
Score 0++

@RaymondW ‘Kuniyoshijō can refer to a multispatial, multilayered historic site centred on the ruins of the medieval mountaintop castle of Kuniyoshijō.’ You mean here? Yes. I wrote that because I was trying to get to grips with the site conceptually. Even though I read it back and thought it sounded like garbled, fluffy nonsense. It could be said about any castle. But the area was used militarily in some capacity all the way up until the Meiji period, with the precincts of various institutions overlapping, with new things being built whilst other areas were abandoned. For that reason treating the whole thing as a single site seemed like too much to deal with. A map I was using indicated five separate sites, but I discounted the ‘Sagaki-sekisho’. Jōkaku Hōrōki treats the yakata and the yamajiro separately. Since it was easier for me to organise that way, I did too. I further separated out the Bakumatsu period yashiki, and the Edo period jin’ya. I don’t know if it was right or wrong to do so, but it seemed convenient. Following some Japanese sources which had done the same thing, I felt confident in proceeding that way. Here are some Japanese blogs which list the yakata separately: http://oshir...siyakata.htm http://www.s...yayakata.htm https://www....-jyo-kyokan/ So, as for how we should determine whether yakata / kyokan should be listed as separate sites (probably not a very meaningful discussion for their builders), I’ve put together some points: - Does the yakata have a divergent history; does it predate the yamajiro? - Is the yakata located far from the corresponding yamajiro; or, are the ruins contiguous? - Do Japanese language castle blogs and websites / books list the yakata separately?

Would love to hear your and Eric’s thoughts. Now that I think about it, I was probably mostly following the last rule first and foremost, and taking cues from native bloggers. It’s fair to say Awaya-yakata only meets the last criteria here, which makes one wonder why other bloggers separated it from the yamajiro. I guess only because there’s so much to see there when compared with many other kyokan at the foot of mountains.
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RaymondWDaimyo

6 months ago
Score 0++

This lord’s residence, an integral part of Kuniyoshi Castle at the base of the mountain is a must-visit part of this castle ruin. There is a fair bit of intact ishigaki here, more than up on top of the mountain. They are also of a more advanced ishigaki style with bigger blocks of stone than what you can see up at the mountaintop castle. For my own personal castle tally, I have counted Kuniyoshi Castle with Awaya Yakata as one single site as they are part of the same castle complex with the easier-to-access lord’s residence at the base of the mountain and the more defensible fortress up on the mountain. That’s how it is treated in the Japanese castle books that I own, and even ART’s first sentence in his “Visit Notes” for Kuniyoshi Castle mentions this.

I would only count the lord’s residence and mountaintop castle as two separate sites if they were used in completely different time periods and not concurrently.