Ôuchi Yoshinaga founded this castle as part as a planned attack against the Mouri clan in 1557. He didn't actually finish the castle before he was defeated by the Mōri. Ôuchi escaped as far as Katsuyama Castle near Shimonoseki, where he comitted suicide. After this, the Mouri clan completed the site and put Ichikawa Tsuneyoshi in charge. In 1559, Ôuchi Teruhiro tried to reclaim the castle but failed. In 1615, the castle was decommissioned as part of the Tokugawa 'one country, one castle' policy and was finally abandoned by 1638. It may have been used as a subsidiary fort of Yamaguchi Castle.
This is a mountaintop castle behind Yamaguchijō. There were taxies queued outside of the Yamaguchijō gate, so I took the opportunity to hop in one and command it up the narrow mountain road which goes most of the way to Kōnominejō. The journey was about ten minutes and only cost me 1,410 yen, so it was a good call. The driver was quite interested in my adventures, and he hadn’t taken his cab up such a mountain road before, though he knew it existed and insisted that his colleagues wouldn’t’ve. So after some pleasant conversation with my cabbie there was only a short trail to the top. The site has lots of extant ishigaki around both the north and south sides of the main bailey area, and the north side ishigaki is particularly tall. Other ruins include wells, baileys, climbing trenches, and terracing. I’d declined the cabman’s offer to wait for me with the meter running and descended the mountain by myself. On the lower side of the small carpark there is a spur of castle ruins. These are well formed terraces and are also an enjoyable feature of Kōnominejō. A path led from here, and I was hopeful it would go all the way down. Instead it went to some masts or pylons and quickly stopped, so I had to descend the ridge without a path, but this was lots of fun and great exercise, and happily I met with no accidents.
From the base of the mountain a trail proceeds from Yamaguchi Daijinguu. A nearby history museum has some limited information on the castle and its history too. The tombs of the Mouri clan lords are also in the vicinity.
|English Name||Kounomine Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Yamaguchi Sta. (Yamaguchi line), 20 minutes walk; city bus to nearby also available|
|Location||Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 11' 3.70" N, 131° 27' 43.70" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2012|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|