Hajō was constructed in 1576 by Nagata Shigemoto, under the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu, as a coastal fort to protect vital shipping in the area. The fort functioned as a naval base protecting the seaward entry into Owari (Oda territory) and Mikawa (Tokugawa territory). The second and final castellan of Hajō was Nagai Naokatsu, and the fort was decommissioned in 1584 when he relocated.
An earlier fort, Ôhamajō, also called Ôhamakojō ('Ohhama Old Castle') to distinguish it from later installations, is also said to have existed in this area. It was built by Ueda Mototoshi after 1548 when he recieved territory in Hekikai from Imagawa Yoshimoto for defeating a force belonging to Oda Nobutaka. Other castellans of Ôhamajō were drawn from the Amano and Inaguma clans. However, Ôhamajō was abandoned in 1560 following the battle of Okehazama, which saw Imagawa Clan influence in Mikawa dramatically decrease. Hajō was then constructed in 1576.
Later, in 1768, a jin'ya was built on the site of the medieval castle by Mizuno Tadatomo. The Mizuno Clan had been big time lords (daimyō) at Matsumoto Castle with a fiefdom valued at 70,000 koku, but Mizuno Tadatsune, who was known to have a short temper and to be given to wanton drunkenness, suddenly got into a fight in the Pine Corridor at the Shogun's palace at Edojō, slashing at a princling from Chōfu Domain. The younger man parried with his sheathed scabbard, disarming Tadatsune, and Tadatsune, continuing to rage, had to be restrained. He was forced into a humiliating retirement for this disgrace and his holdings were confiscated (but, mind, compare that to the much more severe punishment for the provoked and prodded young lord of Akō which led to the revenge of the forty-seven Rōnin in 1703; the incident which prompted the whole vendetta took place in the very same corridor, and involved the same offence, but perhaps the Shogunate was weary of prompting a copy-cat style vendetta by that time). The Mizuno line was gracefully allowed to continue, albeit with much smaller holdings, leading to Mizuno Tadatomo being granted Ôhama Domain, valued at 13,000 koku.
In 1777, Mizuno Tadatomo was promoted to a larger feifdom, worth 20,000 koku, relocating to Numaźujō in Suruga. Ôhama Domain was then abolished, but since the Mizuno Clan continued to hold territory in Mikawa, Ôhama-jin'ya continued to be used as the administrative centre of a sub-domain until the abolition of feudalism in 1871. A facsimile of the jin'ya's gate and walls were reproduced on-site in 2008.
Hajō / Ôhama-jin'ya is a medieval fort / proto-modern jin'ya site in urban Hekinan Municipality. The site is now maintained as a park called 'Jin'ya Hiroba', and is a partial pseudo-reconstruction of the jin'ya's gates and walls. Inside the gate there is just an open area with some plants and benches, as well as information boards about the history of the site. There are some monuments to commemorate this history. It's nice to see recognition of the site's history, though the restoration efforts seems to have been of a lesser quality than, say, Ôhira-jin'ya (Okazaki), which is similar in scale and scope. Ôhama-jin'ya's reconstruction is a little on the cheap side, it seems, in terms of construction materials. Happily there is also an original gate from the jin'ya which has been relocated to Jōgyōin, a temple in town. The reproduced gate at the park actually seems based on this relocated gate (did the temple not want to give it back? haha); both are small kōraimon-type gates.
Visiting Jōgyōin to see the relocated gate was very fortuitous. Jōgyōin is a small temple, basically a priest's house, but it is in an old part of the town where there is a traditional mirin brewery. Mirin is rice wine used in cooking. The brewery has traditional architecture and a café where visitors can buy mirin-based goods and mirin icecream (which was surprisingly good!). Adjacent is a temple called Saihōji. This temple has impressive street-facing buildings and a drum tower. I thought the drum tower might be Edo period, but apparently it was built for the domain's first modern school in the early Meiji period, during those transitioning years at the end of feudalism. There was more to see here than I expected.
|English Name||Ha Castle|
|Alternate Names||Ôhamajō (大浜城) / Ôhama-jin'ya (大浜陣屋)|
|Founder||Ueda Mototoshi; Nagata Shigemoto; Mizuno Tadatomo|
|Year Founded||1548; 1576; 1768|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Reconstructed Kōraimon, Relocated Kōraimon|
|Access||Hekinan Station on the Meitetsu-Mikawa Line; 7 minute walk to park|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; park|
|Time Required||40 minutes|
|Location||Hekinan, Aichi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 52' 38.64" N, 136° 59' 3.62" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2023|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Jōkaku Shashin Kiroku|
|Nihon Shiro Meguri|