Ayukawa Castle (Koka)
The castle itself dates to the Nanbokucho Period (1300s) when it was the base for Ayukawa Yakuro for attacks by the Southern Court. It was abandoned some time after and re-used again by the Kurokawa. Just south of this manor area and along the way to the Kurokawashi Castle is the family gravesite of the Kurokawa, Shoutouin (正等院). It is likely that Ayukawa Castle was the Kurokawa's castle before building Kurokawashi Castle, but we're not sure exactly when they moved. Given the very different and much later design of Kurokawashi Castle, I suspect the Kurokawa were at Ayukawa Castle throughout the Sengoku Period and only moved to and built Kurokawashi Castle after being re-instated by Tokugawa.
See Kurokawashi Castle for more details about the Kurokawa clan.
Ayukawa Castle is the second castle around the valley of Ayukawa I visited. There is a small park with a stone pillar marking the site of Ayukawa Castle. In documents from the early 1900s it is said that there were foundation stones here for a gate to the castle. They cannot be seen today but the location makes sense for a gate to the manor. Behind this pillar is a large leveled area over looking the valley. This is thought to be the Kurokawa's manor and the mountain behind and to the south of it was the mountaintop castle making this a fortified manor + mountain redoubt castle site.
For the mountaintop redoubt there are no trails, just a sign pointing nearly straight up a very steep slope. I made it about 1/2 the way up but it was too steep and wet so for every 3 steps up, I slid 1 step back until I slipped or fell enough times to give up. As only my second castle visit of the day I thought my time was better spent elsewhere and maybe I would return here another day.
|English Name||Ayukawa Castle (Koka)|
|Year Founded||1300's (Nanbokucho Period)|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Kibukawa Sta (JR Kusatsu Line), local bus (Tsuchiyama Bus) to Ayukawaguchi, 15 min walk|
|Visitor Information||park, open 24/7|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Koka, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 57' 26.03" N, 136° 20' 44.20" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2023|
|Admin Year Visited||2023|
|Admin Visits||March 19, 2023|
|Friends of JCastle|