Hijika Castle

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Hijikajou (1).JPG


Hijikajō was first built by Okudaira Sadamasa in 1478. The Okudaira were originally vassals of the Imagawa Clan, but in 1555, the Hijika-Okudaira Clan, a branch clan of the Tsukude-Okudaira, switched its allegiance to the Oda Clan. This led to Matsudaira Yoshiharu, a vassal of Matsudaira Motoyasu (Tokugawa Ieyasu), then alligned with the Imagawa, attacking Hijikajō on behalf of Imagawa Yoshimoto. Despite early victories by the rebels, Hijikajō was ultimately captured by Imagawa forces, and clan leader Okudaira Sadatomo was banished.

In 1560, the Matsudaira themselves turned against the Imagawa, following the battle of Okehazama in which Oda Nobunaga's smaller force defeated and killed Imagawa Yoshimoto. The Matsudaira pledged fealty to Nobunaga, and, in turn, Okudaira Sadatomo was able to regain Hijikajō in his ancestral land.

From 1573, Hijikajō was traded between Takeda and Matsudaira forces. That year, in order to stay in power, the Hijika-Okudaira surrendered to Takeda Shingen and Lord Sadatomo's daughter, Ofū, was sent as a hostage to Takeda forces. When the Okudaira rejoined Matsudaira Motoyasu's side, following the death of Takeda Shingen later that year, Ofū was beheaded by her captors. In 1575, the Hijika-Okudaira and other members of the extended Okudaira fought bitterly against Takeda Katsuyori in defence of Nagashinojō.

Hijikajō is thought to have been abandoned by 1590 when Tokugawa Ieyasu, along with his entire franchise, relocated to Kantō at the behest of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The ruins of the castle became a local tier designated historic site in 1990.

Visit Notes

Hijikajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in Sakuragata Township, Okazaki Municipality. The ruins feature medieval earthworks such as dorui (earthen ramparts), kuruwa (baileys) and horikiri (trenches). There are several koguchi ('tiger maw') gate complexes evident. The main bailey is protected by the mountain's steep terrain to the west, as well as baileys; a large terraced bailey in the south, and a trench complex which wraps around the mountainside in the north and east.

The castle ruins are for the most part very well maintained as a park overlooking the Oto River. The main bailey, which is ensconced with dorui, contains a signboard with information about the castle and a map. I was also pleasantly suprised to see such handsome toilet facilities to the rear of the park / castle site (near the carpark off the mountain road) which looked suitably like a castle building, such as a guardhouse or barracks. When I visited, the autumunal colours, particularly at the foot of the castle-mount beside the Oto River, were fiery beautiful. The kyokan (residential area) of the castle stood was at the foot of the castle mount, on the hillside beside where the temple Kōshōin now stands. Okudaira Clan cenotaphs can be found in Kōshōin's necropolis.

  • Horikiri (trench)

Castle Profile
English Name Hijika Castle
Japanese Name 日近城
Founder Okudaira Sadamasa
Year Founded 1478
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Horikiri, Dorui, Kuruwa, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access I cycled from downtown Okazaki. 'Hello Cycle' bicycles are available to rent in Okazaki.
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Website https://www.city.okazaki.lg.jp/1300/1304/1332/p021923.html
Location Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 59' 14.35" N, 137° 19' 18.77" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Shashin Kiroku
Kojō Seisuiki
Nippon Shiro Meguri

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