Added 5 Castles Around Ushiku (Ibaraki)


Added 5 Castles Around Ushiku (Ibaraki)


Hi Everyone!

This is my first update in several months. If you've been following on Facebook or even seeing some of the updates on the home page you'll see that I've been busy rebuilding all of on a new platform. There's still a lot of work to do, but as we approach the best season for visiting castles I thought it was also important to finish off all the updates that have been pending from Spring. My first big update is several castles I visited around the Ushiku area of Ibaraki Prefecture during Golden Week.

Some of these castles are quite far from the station so they can be difficult to visit with public transportation. On this day, I took my trusty Brompton folding bicycle to visit them all from Ushiku Station.

With the exception of the jin'ya these were all castles that formed part of the network of castles of the Okami clan. The Okami clan were allied with the Hojo in the latter Sengoku Period and provided an important defense along the Hojo's Easternmost borders. The Okami surrendered to Hideyoshi loyal forces during the Siege of Odawara and their castles were abandoned. There are no stone walls or big water moats here, but what you will see are some key examples of earthworks castles that were typical in the Kanto region. In particular Osaka Castle (Ibaraki) and Ushiku Castle are highly recommended for castles fans.


Okami Castle / 岡見城


I biked here from Ushiku Station. It appears that there is a bus that stops nearby but you still have to walk some distance to get to the castle. The road into the castle site itself is not well marked either. I found it useful to check Google street view before going. There are some other minor related ruins (West Palace and South Palace) nearby but I was not aware of them for this visit. After Okami Castle, I also biked to the nearby Osaka Castle and then back to the station for Ushiku Castle and Torinji Castle.
Osaka Castle (Ibaraki) / 小坂城


This was a really fun site to visit. After the small, overgrown, mosquito infested Okami Castle, Osaka Castle was like heaven and made the long trek by bicycle well worth it. Osaka Castle has many trenches, earthen embankments and the overall structure and design of the castle is really well preserved. It could be a textbook Sengoku Period castle of the Kanto Region. I'm surprised it's not more well known. If only it were a little easier to go there by public transportation.
Torinji Castle / 東林寺城


There is very little to see here and no signs, but since I was in the neighborhood it was worth stopping by. Much of the castle site hs been developed over but you can see some embankments and make out the outline of the castle. Locationwise it is also important to understanding the Okami clan castle network and it's importance as a lookout and defense for Ushiku Castle.
Ushiku Castle / 牛久城


This is a fantastic site to visit. The huge walls and deep trenches are very typical of Kanto earthworks castles, especially the many similar type ones you'll find around Ibaraki. The pictures don't do it justice. Some of the embankments appear to be low, but you are actually looking at them from inside the bailey and a higher elevation. From the outside they add a couple meters onto the height of an already deep trench.
Ushiku Jinya / 牛久陣屋


There really sin't much to see here and there are no signs pointing it out. I did some research from other blogs and on maps to find it. Supposedly there is a surviving trench somewhere as well but I was not able to identify it.
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