Samegai Castle

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Samegaijou (2).JPG


A historical document, 『江州佐々木南北詰士帳』, mentions that Sameǵai was home to Dohi Genba, a vassal of the Sasaki. 『淡海国木間攫』says that it was home to Sameǵai Saburō, a samurai following the Asai Clan. Of the two it seems that the Dohi were most likely castellans at Sameǵaijō, at least originally. The Dohi were known in the area as the 'Three Branches of Dohi', with their families controlling Sameǵai, Tawada (on the otherside of the mountain to the north of Sameǵai) and Banba (southeast) from the Kamakura to Muromachi periods. However, the castle's history is largely unknown.

Visit Notes

Sameǵaijō is a castle site on a small hill, or large hillock I suppose - hillet?, overlooking the traditional inn town of Sameǵai-juku. The shukuba (post town) has lots of nice architecture and I had also come to check it out (some pictures included here). The ruins of the castle are well hidden. A small alley to the southwest of the castle mount leads to a staircase to them. This stairway is maintained because the castle site is now a small cemetery shaded by bamboo. I actually went up from the northeast and came down in the southwest, but there is no trail from the northeast. It looks like there used to be a concrete stairway beneath the motorway but now it's gone or buried.

The castle's structure is of a small central bailey area with terraced belt baileys in three tiers. The shukuruwa (main bailey) is only about 10m². To the north are some narrower banded baileys. The slopes are clearly carved, and ishigaki (stone walls) can also be seen. Beneath the castle mount the Jizō River was used as a moat. In its clear waters grow the Baikamo (marine plum blossom) for which the river is famous. The castle's residential area was likely where the shukuba subsequently grew up. The hillock I mentioned originally was part of a ridge but now a large motorway has severed it from the ridge. It's possible that there are more remains of fortifications on the ridge on the opposite side of the expressway, but I was not able to find out.

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  • Ishigaki

Castle Profile
English Name Samegai Castle
Japanese Name 醒ヶ井城
Alternate Names 醒井城
Founder Dohi Clan (probably)
Year Founded Kamakura Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Ishigaki, Kuruwa, Koshi-kuruwa, Obikuruwa, Kirigishi
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Sameǵai Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line; 5 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 20 minutes
Location Maibara, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 19' 37.49" N, 136° 20' 57.01" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Masaki Shibata
Jōkaku Tanbō

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