Kashiwabara Castle (Omi)

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Kashiwabarajō, also known as Kashiwabara-yakata, was built as the fortified residence of Kyōgoku Ujinobu, fourth son of Sasaki Nobutsuna, in 1283 after he became the governor of Ōmi. He moved his bodaiji, or clan temple, to Tokugen'in. The temple still remains and contains the Kyōgoku Clan graves which are designated as a national historic site. When Kyōgoku Takatoyo became lord of Marugamejō during the Edo Period, he petitioned the shogunate to regain control of the ruins of Kashiwabarajō so as to tend to the graves of his ancestors. Trading control of a couple of villages in the area he was successful in this and, the land restored to Kyōgoku ownership, Lord Takatoyo restored the temple, building the beautiful three-tier pagoda which can be seen today.

Visit Notes

Kashiwabarajō is now the site of Tokugen'in. Tokugen'in has unfortunately now closed its doors to visitors, citing pandemic concerns, so we couldn't enter the temple precincts to see the historic architecture. But then a miracle occured. A troupe of monkeys appeared and guided us (I chased them) to around the side of the temple. From here we could see the majestic pagoda behind an aging earthen wall which one of the monkeys ran the whole length along. As for the castle, however, nothing significant remains. A marker for the castle stands besides ishigaki (stone-stacked walls), but this was built for the temple. The temple site had formerly been the fortified residence of the Kyōgoku Clan in 1283, the hegemonic rulers of Ōmi, and their graves are all that remain, the residence only having served as their headquarters briefly, until 1286. A fort also existed on the mount behind the temple, presumably where the monkeys now live, but we hadn't time to visit.

  • site marker and stonewalls of temple

Castle Profile
English Name Kashiwabara Castle (Omi)
Japanese Name 近江柏原城
Founder Kyōgoku Ujinobu
Year Founded 1283
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Kashiwabara Station on the Tōkaidaō Main Line; 20 minute walk
Visitor Information Free; 24/7; Temple
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Maibara, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 20' 44.30" N, 136° 23' 18.53" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle

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11 months ago
Score 0++

@Eric, there are lots of Kyōgoku kamons the roof tiles there. They are very similar to the Sasaki kamons, except that they have been rotated 45 degrees. I'm guessing such a design is to show that they have their roots in the Sasaki Clan and are their descendants.

@ART. No worries, mate. Feel free to add a single combined profile for Takekurabe Castle and Takekurabe Toride to Jcastle after you have visited them. They were built at the same time and were part of the same defence for the Mt Nose area against Oda Nobunaga.


12 months ago
Score 0++
I love the Kamon on those roof tiles. Nice shot. I want to line that up with some kokuin from Osaka-jo. You see the Kyogoku Kamon kokuin a lot. Thanks for the recommendations too Ray. I do like sets of castles with some history and story behind them.


12 months ago
Score 0++

I visited this “castle ruin” with just a stone marker after I have spent time castle-hunting at a nearby yamajiro ruin with earthwork ruins to see. Tokugen’in is worth visiting for those history / castle fans who want to see places related to the Kyōgoku Clan. As ART has mentioned on his profile here, there are Kyōgoku tombstones to be seen here, and the three-storey pogoda is worth seeing. Also, if you are a Kyōgoku fan, there is the Kyōgoku Yakata ruin located just a few kilometres away. On your way to Tokugen’in from the train station, you will see the train line heading back towards Omi-Nagaoka Station. Behind the train line and in the distance is massive Mt. Ibuki. Halfway down are its forested foothills. Located at the base of one of those foothills is Kyōgoku Yakata.

For castle fans who prefer to visit castle ruins with actual historical ruins to see in the Kashiwabara area, I recommend going in the opposite direction from Tokugen’in when you leave Kashiwabara Station and head towards Noseyama (Mt. Nose). Takekurabe Castle and Takekurabe Toride, built by the Asai Clan to defend their territory in northern Shiga against Nobunaga attacking from Gifu, are located on this mountain. There are plenty of earthwork remnants to be seen at this well-maintained castle ruin such as two types of ditches (tatebori and karabori), a gate ruin (masugata koguchi), and earthen ramparts (dorui).


12 months ago
Score 0++
Thanks for the recommendations, Raymond; if i get the opportunity i'll be sure to visit those sites and make profiles for them here on jcastle ^0^