Himega Castle (Mikawa)
Details regarding Himega Castle in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, are scarce, but it is believed to have been built by Oe Mikawa no Kami Sadamoto as his residence on being assigned as the Provincial Governor of Mikawa around 986.
Sadamoto had divorced his wife who he left in Kyoto and instead brought a beautiful young woman named Rikisu with him to Mikawa. Unfortunately, Rikisu became seriously ill and died. The broken hearted Sadamichi is said to have slept with Rikiju's body for a few days until he could no longer bear the smell of death and finally buried her. Oe continued to live here for several more years.
Later, Matsudaira Yoshikage, the second generation of the Fukamizo Matsudaira clan recognized the castle's strategic positioning as it overlooked the Tokaido Highway and the junction of the Otogawa and Hachiji Rivers along the upper reaches of the Yahagi River. As such, he built a residence here. This too was used by a branch of the Matsudaira clan for many years. The Tokugawa retained a presence here until 1590 when Ieyasu relocated to Edo, and it is believed that Himega served as a satellite castle of Okazaki for some time after that.
Himega Castle is listed as one of Okazaki City’s Top 100 Tourist Attractions. Before you get too excited however, there really isn’t much to see. A walking trail leads from the cemetery behind the Taizoji Temple. There is a car park to the east of the temple building. Many people (myself included) accidentally enter the neighboring property after seeing the Himega Castle Trail Entrance sign out front of the temple and taking the alleyway beside it, so be careful. As I mistakenly entered via the junkyard like neighboring property, I took a rather steep, overgrown, off the path, difficult, freestyle route, (let’s call it the “attacking warrior” route) aiming for the top.
It takes about 6 minutes by the proper stair lined route, 15 plus minutes if attempting to climb through the bamboo and trees freestyle up the steep side (i.e Attacking Warrior Route).
The main part of the castle at the top has been cleared of trees, and the view was good. The two main baileys are the Ni-no-kuruwa second bailey containing a small Inari shrine complex, directly above this, separated by dorui earthen embankments and a small koguchi entrance, the Hon-kuruwa, main bailey, about 30m wide. An obikuruwa, a smaller thinner bailey surrounding the mountain is supposedly found at some point, as well as a horikiri trench however I could find no trace of either. The Hon kuruwa has a small marker stone stating “Historic Site Himega Castle”. The Tomei Expressway can be seen directly below, and beyond that, a fine view of the Mikawa and Okazaki area.
Profile by Chris Glenn (edited by ART).
Update by ART (2023):
I took an early morning cycle to the site of Himegajō in the Hobo Township of Okazaki Municipality. This yamajiro (mountaintop castle) site is chimeric. How old are the ruins that castle fans note here? The top of the mountain, which is cleared and has benches and some views, is presumably the main bailey. But the terrain is bumpy and basically unlevelled. The lower secondary bailey has nice levelled ground and embankments both above and below, which look like fortification remains. But here there is a small shrine building, and so one naturally wonders if the neat earthworks in the second bailey aren’t the result of the maintenance of this shrine. The earth has been piled up both around and above the second bailey. From below this looks like a typical fortification remnant. Looking at the upper ‘dorui’, however, it seems to have been piled from earth dug out of the upper rather than lower bailey, and the sloping is quite gradual. It’s hard to know why this was done (to deter boar pigs?); it’s a curious site.
|English Name||Mikawa Himega Castle|
|Founder||Oe Mikawa no Kami Sadamoto|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Kuruwa, Koguchi, Dorui|
|Access||Miai Station on the Meitetsu-Nagoya Main Line; 35 minute walk to trail|
|Visitor Information||24/7, free; mountain|
|Time Required||25 minutes|
|Location||Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 55' 50.48" N, 137° 13' 22.58" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|