Takayama Jin'ya

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After the Battle of Sekigahara, Kanamori Nagachika was named the first lord of the Takayama Domain. The 6th lord of Takayama, Kanamori Yoritoki was transferred to Kaminoyama in 1692 and the Takayama Domain was placed under direct control of the Tokugawa government. This was done so that the government could directly control the very resource rich Takayama domain which included vast forests and mineral deposits including gold and silver. At this time, the nearby Takayama Castle was decommissioned. In 1695, Kanamori's palace was repurposed for the government offices and the rice storehouse was moved from Takayama Castle to it's present location.

Takayama Jin'ya functioned as the Tokugawa government's offices until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Afterwards it was still used as prefectural government offices until 1969. In 1969 it was named a National Historic site and preserved as the only extant jin'ya anywhere in the country. From 1980-1996 the extant buildings were repaired and several subsidiary buildings were restored to complete the Edo era jin'ya. Except for the rice storehouse (1600) the other extant buildings are from the early 1800's.

This is a jin'ya and technically not a castle. Jin'ya are somewhat fortified government offices. They were built for small domains (generally less than 30,000 koku of rice) where the lord did not have the qualifications to be a "castle lord." These were called "castleless lords" or "jin'ya lords". Jin'ya were also established for domains, like Takayama, that were directly under control of the Tokugawa government. The Jin'ya are often listed along with castles in castle books and materials.

Visit Notes

This site is a must see for castle fans and history fans alike. Strictly speaking it is not a castle, but functioned in a similar capacity. It is the only original nearly complete jin'ya of around 60 similar sites that existed during the Edo Period.

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  • Main government office
  • Main government office
  • Covered waiting bench and offices
  • Kitchen and city offices
  • Outlines of homes.
  • Onyakusho, official's rooms.
  • Entrance hall
  • From the offices to the kitchenette area.
  • different view of the officials' rooms
  • Large conference room and the garden
  • View of the garden
  • Packed earth floor room
  • Interrogation room
  • Straw rice sacks
  • Rice store house
  • A room in the storehouse
  • Rice storehouse and the main building
  • Guardhouse
  • Wall to the left of the front gate
  • Wall running to the right of the front gate
  • Front gate
  • View from the front of the jin'ya.

Castle Profile
English Name Takayama Jin'ya
Japanese Name 高山陣屋
Founder Tokugawa government
Year Founded 1692
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features palace, stone walls, walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Takayama Sta. (Takayama line), 10 min walk
Visitor Information 420 yen entrance fee; open 8:45am to 5pm (open until 6pm in August, closes at 4:30 from Nov.-Feb.). Closed 12/29, 12/31, and 1/1; English tours available by reservation
Time Required 60 mins
Website http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/English/tourism/takayama/
Location Takayama, Gifu Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 8' 21.73" N, 137° 15' 28.04" E
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Added to Jcastle 2014
Admin Year Visited 2013
Admin Visits Nov 8, 2013

(9 votes)
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Matthew WardGunshi

9 months ago
Score 0++

Checking out the article about Takayama Castle on this site made me wonder if we had seen Takayama-jin'ya as well when we visited 22 years ago. The weird thing is, I had no memory of it, but last night I found an old letter which describes the visit, and then it all came rushing back. Quite a thrill to have a memory suddenly restored, in fairly vivid detail.

And it was a place I had loved: the letter spends more time on describing it than anything else in the town. I think that it may have been hard to remember because I describe it as a 'government office,' which it was of course, but I hadn't mentally connected 'jin'ya' and 'government office.'

Anyway, yes, this is a fantastic site. I'll have to figure out which buildings are surviving historical buildings vs. reconstructions, but it's extremely well done and fascinating. Definitely deserves 5 stars.


61 months ago
Score 1++
Takayama-jin'ya is one of the best preserved Jin'ya in the country, although about half of the structures are reconstructions built in 1996. Its interconnected halls and structures contain living spaces and offices for Bakufu officials. The impressive genkan (entrance) area is part of the original Edo Period structure. Now hosting displays, one of the largest, oldest, thickest walled earthen storehouses also exists here. Several of the Jin'ya's original structures are actually storehouses; the largest stored rice collected from the peasants as a form of tax, another storehouse contained official documents, and another contained tableware. The genkan, attached hall, Jin'ya offices, legal offices, large conference room, and messenger's room are all original. The front entrance to the jin'ya and attached guardhouse are also original. Other structures are reconstructions, including a three-tier watchtower, which sort of functions as the jin'ya's donjon, a kind of residential bōrōgata tenshu (watchtower-style keep). I was very impressed with the historical authenticity of this site and the town of Takayama. There were many tourists here. I saw tourists from North America and Europe, and Asian countries like China, Korea and Thailand. Information is available in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean and Thai.