Iinoya Castle

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Iinoyajou (30).jpg


Iinoyajō was the ancestral castle of the Ii Clan who would go on to rule Hikone Domain in the Edo period. The Ii Clan is said to have been founded by Ii Tomoyasu in the 11th century, and, whilst it is not known when the castle mount was first foritfied, the Ii had a residence in place by 1032. The castle was likely established by the Nanbokuchō period when Prince Munayoshi of the Southern Dynasty stayed with the Ii. The Ii fought against the Ashikaga Shogunate, and, following the defeat of the Southern Court, became vassals of the Imagawa Clan.

In 1544, Ii Naomitsu and Ii Naoyoshi, prominent clan members, were accused of treason and executed by Imagawa Yoshimoto. It is speculated that their accuser, a man of the Ono Clan, was manouvering to take over the Ii Clan, as Ii Naomori, the clan head, had no legitimate heir. In 1560 Imagawa Yoshimoto and Ii Naomori were both killed in the battle of Okehazama. In 1562, new clan head Ii Naochika was ambushed and killed with his retinue at Kakegawa Castle. Iinoyajō was then attacked and captured by Asahina Yasutomo. Ii Naomasa, Naochika's son, was then only a baby, but was rescued by loyal retainers. Since he was too young to reign, Naomori's only daughter took over the Ii Clan, becoming Ii Naotora, the lady daimyō.

Iinoyajō was conquered by the Ono Clan in 1568, and then by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1569. With Lady Naotora's passing in 1582, Ii Naomasa, later renowned as one of the four great generals of Tokugawa Ieyasu, would come of age and head the Ii Clan. Ii Naomasa was able to reclaim Iinoyajō, but the castle was abandoned in 1590 when Tokugawa Ieyasu and his retainers were relocated to Kantō.

Visit Notes

Iinoyajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in the town of Iinoya in Inasa Township, Hamana Ward, Hamamatsu Municipality. The top of the hill is gradually sloping, and the ruins can be found in the form of dorui (earthen ramparts) which encircle a compound at the top of the hill. The dorui is particularly obvious near the two entrances to the main bailey, but it can be followed all around the hilltop. There are no sheer drops or terraced baileys beneath the northern ramparts, just a slope with ferns on, but the dorui can be clearly appreciated when viewed from here.

Iinoyajō almost feels like a simple flatland fortification stuck atop of a hill rather than a mountaintop castle, due to its simplistic design incorporating dorui without an obvious sign of extensive terracing or ridge-bisecting trenchwork. Another curious feature is that only half the hilltop within the ramparts is flattened, with the rest maintaining an unlevelled mound-like shape. The fortified mount was used as a redoubt in times of conflict, with the yakata (fortified manor hall) on the plain below being the main residence of the Ii Clan.

  • Dorui (earthen ramparts)

Castle Profile
English Name Iinoya Castle
Japanese Name 井伊谷城
Founder Ii Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Kuruwa, &c.
Visitor Information
Access Nearest station is Kanasashi Station on the Tenryū-Hamana Line
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 50' 13.78" N, 137° 40' 13.84" E
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Added to Jcastle 2024
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Shiseki Yawa

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