The Ando were a powerful family that had significant influence over much of the coastal areas from Akita to Hokkaido, were mariners and even traded with China and Korea. The castle was built around 1495 by Ando Tadataka, which renamed his branch of the family the Hiyama Ando. Ando Chikasue reunited with the Minato Ando clan and expanded their territory while fighting off the Nanbu. Ando Chikasue changed his name to Akita and renovated Wakimoto Castle on the Oga Peninsula as his new home. Hiyama Castle was still used as an important fortification for the clan. Hiyama Castle was critical in holding out for over 6 months to put down a rebellion after the death of Chikasue left a power vacuum. After the Battle of Skigahara the Akita clan was moved to Hitachi and then Miharu Castle. The Satake who replaced them continued to use Hiyama Castle until it was abandoned under the one castle per domain edict in 1620. At that time the Stakes castellan built a fortified residence at the base o the mountain which is now Called the Tagayashi Yakata.
It's about 7km from the station and no busses. I had my Brompton with me so I could bike there. There is a road up from the base of the mountain to the Sannomaru area but it is quite steep. I'm surprised cars could get up it. The castle covers 2 ridges in a horseshoe like formation, which is also easy to see in the map of photos below. You could go up one ridge and down the other but I had to turn back at the Nakadate to get to my bike which I left at the Sannomaru parking area.
There are some signs and well worn trails so it is not hard to get around. There are also signs to beware of bears but the only wildlife I saw was a Kamoshika who protested my invasion of his home at tha Nakadate. Near the castle are also satellite fortifications Chausudate, Ohdate and the Tagayashi Yakata. Although slightly inconvenient this area seems much more suitable to a large scale castle town and a much more defensible base than the other Ando related castles as Wakimoto Castle and Minato Castle.
|English Name||Hiyama Castle|
|Alternate Names||Kiriyama-jo, Horiuchi-jo, Horinouchi-jo|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Higashi Noshiro Station (Gono Line); 90 mins walk|
|Visitor Information||Mountain, open 24/7|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Noshiro, Akita Prefecture|
|Coordinates||40° 9' 46.84" N, 140° 7' 18.98" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||2020|
|Admin Visits||November 12, 2020|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Shirobito - Hiyama Castle|
|Jokaku Horoki - Hiyama Castle|
|Kojodan - Hiyama Castle|
|Ken's Castle Storage - Hiyama Castle|