Iga Castle (Mikawa)
Igajō was built by Matsudaira Yasuyasu in the late 16th century as his residence following his reinstatement (a member of the Ohkusa-Matsudaira, Yasuyasu had fought an internal conflict against Ieyasu alongside the Mikawa-Ikkō-Ikki) by Matsudaira Nobuyasu, the son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the lord of Okazaki Castle. Igajō was a satellite fortification of Okazakijō. Yasuyasu would go on to serve under Tokugawa Hidetada, the second shogun, who doubled his landholdings to 6,000 koku, and Tokogawa Tadanaga, the younger brother of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun. Igajō is thought to have been abandoned after the demise of Tadanaga around 1633.
Located in the Iga neighbourhood of Okazaki City, the site of Igajō is now a temple, Myōganji. The site is on a hill or the edge of a plateau. No ruins remain but I enjoyed exploring the temple. To the west is a cliff, and so likely the fortification relied on this natural terrain to buff its defences. To the south is Iga-Hachimangū, a large shrine built by Matsudaira Chikatada in 1470, and I also visited there afterward.
Oh... Hattori Hanzō, the famous ninja, was born here... in Iga... in Mikawa. Not Iga the province, even though he is famous as an Iga ninja. Is that a coincidence? Lots of castle towns have an Iga-chō because Iganomono came to refer to – amongst many other terms – secret police and spies during the Edo period. My assumption was that, though it’s a little to the north of the main historic castle town of Okazaki, this was the case in Okazaki too. But that would mean the castle predated the name of the area. So I looked into it. This area was indeed called Iga before the Edo period, but the kanji was apparently different: 位賀. Matsudaira Chikatada, the lord who built Iga Shrine, changed it to the current kanji which is the same as Iga, the province famous for its ninja heritage; so there seems to be a deliberate connection with Iga the province. Perhaps it was only natural for Hattori Yasunaga, who pledged himself to Matsudaira Kiyoyasu, to settle near the Iga Shrine when he moved to Mikawa.
|Iga Castle (Mikawa)
|Late 16th Century
|Pre Edo Period
|Kita-Okazaki Station on the Aichi Loop Line; 10 minute walk to Myōganji
|24/7 free; temple
|Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture
|34° 58' 24.28" N, 137° 9' 52.74" E
|Added to Jcastle
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|Jōkaku Shashin Kiroku