Genbao Castle




Genbao Castle, also called Uchinakaoyama Castle, is nearly perfectly preserved high in the mountains on the border of Fukui and Shiga Prefectures. It is well known as the headquarters of Shibata Katsuie for the Battle of Shizugatake. Since it was abandoned shortly after Shibata's death it is considered to be a valuable artifact reflecting castle designs of the time period.

The castle may have been built up from a fort originally established by Sakuma Morimasa to watch the road and prevent attacks on the Asakura by Oda Nobunaga, but the castle ruins we see today are completely Shibata.

Visit Notes

The two entrances to the honmaru are protected by clear umadashi. In particular the main entrance from the south is almost like three progressively smaller umadashi. The north side has a brilliant z-shaped narrow earthen bridge that zigzags from the main bailey around the north umadashi and into the northern side karamete bailey. There is an exit out the other side of this bailey and some slightly flattened areas which some poeple think indicate that the castle was not finished before the battle.

There is a bus from Yogo Station that gets you near the castle parking lot hiking entrance but useful busses are only around the hours 10am, 1pm, and 3pm so it can be tricky to plan a schedule. Originally I planned to use the 10am and 3pm busses even though it would probably leave lots of time waiting around, but I also found out you can rent a bicycle at Yogo Station which is probably the best way to cross the 8km to the hiking entrance. There are only a few bicycles, so during peak seasons they may be rented out already. They are more frequently used for touring around Lake Yogo. If you do rent a bicycle though, let the station master know you're going to Genbao Castle and he'll provide a good map how to get there. There seems to be a small community bus from the Tsuruga (Fukui) side of the castle too, but it's hard to find detailed information.


Loading map...


Castle Profile
English Name Genbao Castle
Japanese Name 玄蕃尾城
Alternate Names Uchinakaoyama-jo
Founder Shibata Katsuie
Year Founded 1583
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Yogo Station, 20 mins bicycle to trail head, 45 mins hike
Visitor Information mountain, open 24/7
Time Required 120 mins
Website culture/genbao-castle/
Location Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 35' 52.19" N, 136° 10' 35.83" E
Loading map...
Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2023
Admin Visits April 22, 2023
Friends of JCastle
Jokaku Horoki
Japan Castle Explorer

(one vote)
Add your comment welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.



12 months ago
Score 0++
@Eric. Thanks for the compliment, but I don’t think my comments are much more detailed than yours except in making a comparison between Shibata’s choice of Genbao Castle as his HQ and Hashiba’s choice of Tagami Castle for his, and how much of the battlefield could be seen from the respective command centres. Being the original JCastle Shogun and webmaster of this great website, I know in time after a few more visits to the Lake Yogo area, you could surpass me in your knowledge and appreciation of the castles and field fortifications in the area. I know you have already done that for the Koga(Koka) region in Shiga even though I have been exploring castles in that part of Shiga for over a decade. Good on you for getting in a couple of smaller torides on your way to Genbao and back. I look forward to one of your comprehensive and detailed articles about the mountaintop castles and forts in the Lake Yogo area in the future after you have seen more of this part of Shiga.


13 months ago
Score 0++

It’s great to see this castle profile finally created on JCastle by Eric. It’s another one of those fantastic yamajiro ruins found in Shiga. The YouTube video certainly gives any viewer a good idea of what this mountaintop castle looks like in early spring.

This is not the biggest yamajiro in Shiga / Fukui, as the castle straddles the border between these prefectures, but it is possibly the mountaintop castle in either prefecture with the best preserved earthworks. In Eric’s photos and video on this castle profile, one can certainly see how clean and devoid of undergrowth the whole yamajiro ruin is, clearly showcasing its earthen ramparts, ditches, two umadashi (earthen barbican), and narrow earthen walkways linking baileys to any avid castle fan who makes the effort to visit this castle ruin.

I have visited this mountaintop twice, and both times it has been as clear as shown in the photos and video here. I hiked up the mountain each time to get to castle ruin from the Shiga side, but for those who don’t like doing a bit of bushwalking, apparently you can drive to a small parking area much closer to the castle site from the Fukui side.

This castle was Shibata Katsuie’s HQ for the Battle of Shizugatake as mentioned in the profile, but from this castle, it is not possible to see the battlefield, even if all the trees were cleared. On the other hand, Hashiba (later Toyotomi) Hideyoshi from his HQ at Tagami Castle would have a clear view of the ridgeline where his second line of defence of three forts including Shizugatake Toride are located. It is also possible from a spot a little further north of Tagami Castle to see the ridge where Shinmei Toride and Dogiyama Toride are located. These forts along with several other others formed the first Hashiba defensive line. Basically, Hideyoshi had chosen a better located fortress to be his command centre for the battle.

As the webmaster has mentioned, you can get to the trailhead for Genbao Castle by either by bus or rental bicycle. I have tried both ways to get to the trailhead on the Shiga side, and a rental bicycle gives you much more flexibility as long as you don’t mind cycling in windy conditions as it is often quite windy in the Lake Yogo area. I have been there numerous times sussing out mountaintop fortresses in the area, and more often than not, it was windy.


13 months ago
Score 0++
wow, much more detailed than my commentary. I commend you for visiting this one twice. I think a lot of time would have to pass and new discoveries for me to make it out there again. I did hit a couple minor toride along the route, which is another good reason for cycling, so just be patient until those come out! Definitely I have more to see around this intriguing area.