Mekada Castle is thought to have been built by the Mekada Clan, a clan listed as nobility from the Kamakura Period onwards. In the Muromachi Period the Mekada became heriditary retainers and chief vassals of the Sasaki, the governing clan (shugo, 守護) of Ōmi Province. The Mekada had the tendency to swear fealty to whatever power seemed to be ascendant, following in turn the Sasaki, the Rokkaku, the Kyōgoku, the Amago, and, in the Azuchi Period, Oda Nobunaga, who built his new base at nearby Azuchi Castle. The Mekada then alligned with Akechi Mitsuhide following the Fall of Honnōji and Nobunaga's death. This is where their strategy came up short, since Mitsuhide was thereafter rapidly defeted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who confiscated the Mekada's lands. Mekadajō was then presumably abandoned in the Momoyama Period.
Mekadajō is now a small history park which looks like it was developed only recently. There is tallish dorui (earthen ramparts), of about 3m in height, to appreciate here. Formerly the whole thing was covered in bamboo so it's good they cut that back and now maintain the ruins. Some parts are still bamboo though. That day I encountered a lot of bamboo trying to investigate smaller sites. Afterall the super grass is still a useful resource in some parts. The layout of the castle was a simple square surrounded by dorui and mizubori (water moats), though the dorui was embossed on one corner adjacent to the fort's single gateway, perhaps for the placement of a yagura(turret)-like structure. In this way Mekadajō served as basically as a fortified residence. To the immediate south of the fort flows the Iwakura River, which shortly thereafter flows into the Uso River. An irrigation channel connected the moat of Mekadajō with the river, and in the north of the fort a pool of water projected into the main enclosure. Although I didn't have time to visit, the sites of Hacchōjō and Ōmi-Yoshidajō are very nearby.
|English Name||Mekada Castle|
|Year Founded||Kamakura Period or Muromachi Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Toyosato Station on the Ōmi Railway Main Line; 25 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||Free; 24/7; Park|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Aishou, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 11' 12.23" N, 136° 14' 9.46" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|
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