Gochaku Castle, Miyao Castle, Iwakuni Castle

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Gochaku Castle, Miyao Castle, Iwakuni Castle


This update combines some castles from different trips that didn't fit anywhere else.

Miyao Castle and To-no-oka are on Miyajima Island and were just short stops while on Miyajima, which was the main event. Historically they are actually very interesting castle sites nonetheless. Knowing the story of the Battle of Miyajima would make any trip more enjoyable.

Miyao Castle was kindly contributed by Furinkazan last year. This update adds some photos and enhances the history and notes sections. Thanks Furinkazan!

On the way to Miyajima we stopped by Iwakuni Castle to see the Kintaikyo Bridge but we didn't have enough time to go to the top of the mountain to see the mock keep there and get to Miyajima before the tide came in. There are some great stone wall remains I would like to see at the top someday. This update is mainly for new photos of the bridge and the Nagayamon Gate.

Gochaku Castle, while relatively unknown, is also a significant new castle, as one of the three great castle of Harima and for the close connection to Kuroda Kanbei. Click through to the profile for more details. This is within Himeji city limits and an easy side stop combined with a visit to Himeji Castle.


Gochaku Castle / 御着城


There is not much to see here but it is an easy walk from nearby Gochaku Station and an easy castle to drop by if you have some time after visiting Himeji Castle. Even though it was a fairly large castle it has been mostly developed over. There is a small portion of earthen embankment nearby that is thought to date to the original castle. Excavations have also found cornerstones and moats. It is most famous today for the Kuroda family mausoleum and is often listed as an attraction in Kuroda related history sites. The stone bridge on the site is not related to the castle but is an interesting historical artifact. It was built over the Amakawa River in 1828. It is now preserved here arching over the remnant of one of the moats of Gochaku Castle. The extra stones are from making the bridge shorter to fit the location.
Iwakuni Castle / 岩国城


Iwakuni Castle can be easily visited on a day trip from Hiroshima or combined with a trip to Miyajima. The main keep is not actually in the original location. It was rebuilt here to be better seen from the bridge area. There is also a good amount of stonework around the castle at the top of the mountain. I will document it one day when I make another trip down there. The Nagayamon Gate of the Kagawa Residence near the bridge at the foot of the mountain is an original samurai home gate. It is a prefectural historical building and a must-see site in Iwakuni.
Miyao Castle / 宮尾城


If you're going to Miyajima anyway this really is a must see stop for castle fans. There are very few remains to be seen of this fortification, but the horikiri trench is impressive. It is also an historically important site for the decisive victory of the Mori over the Sue in a battle of wits.
To-no-oka / 塔の丘


There is nothing left to see but if you know the history of the Battle of Miyajima it is a fairly interesting site to visit to see just how close it is to Miyao Castle and Itsukushima Shrine and to imagine how the battle unfolded. Whether this really qualifies as a castle or not, it is an historically significant fort and would not be appropriate to post on the Miyao Castle page. I have sources listing it separately so I will too.
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