Kurokawashi Castle (Koka)

From Jcastle.info



The Kurokawa were allied with the Rokkaku at Kannonji Castle and were one of the members of the northen alliance of the 53 Families of Koka. They allied with Oda Nobunaga after the fall of the Rokkaku, but eventually had their lands taken away by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. At this time they were likely based at Ayukawa Castle just across the valley.

For their assistance during the during his "Iga Crossing" (Iga Goe) and the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu named them Hatamoto and restored their lands. This castle was likely built at this time.

The area of samurai residences at the base of the mountain has a high embankment on the west side facing the road into the valley for added fortification. Between these and the main castle there is a deep trench, a steep embankment and only one entrance via a single narrow koguchi.

Obviously, Kurokawashi Castle does not follow the typical yakatajiro style of the Koka region. There are no other 'gangi' structures in Sengoku Period castles in the Kinki Region. The stone walls and entrances of the honmaru are typical of Edo Period castles. The retainers residences postioned around the base of the castle are also more common to the Edo Period, not to mention the fact that the Koka allied clans didn't have such a hierarchical relationship to begin with. All these signs indicate the castle was vastly renovated after the Battle of Sekigahara when the Kurokawa were restored with a status and stipend. Kurokawashi Castle represents what other Koka Castles could have been which makes it an historically valuable site for study.

Visit Notes

Kurokawashi Castle is a FANTASTIC sprawling mountaintop castle. There is a vast network of dry moats, horikiri and embankments built up around the honmaru which also had some great stone walls and an impressive set of stone steps (called gangi) around the inside of the honmaru. On the lower reaches of the mountain before entering the castle you will find several layers of residences of top ranking vassals making it a much bigger and more developed castle than what you would expect for a typical Koka castle out in the middle of the mountains in the borderlands with Iga.

With only a few local busses per day that journey out to Kurokawa, it's a challenging castle to visit, but it was well worth the trip. The area is well known for lots of ticks and leeches in the summer months so consider yourself forewarned!

Loading map...

  • NW embankment of residences area
  • Maeda Residence
  • Layers of residences seen from the top
  • castle entrance from residences area
  • Main bailey

Castle Profile
English Name Kurokawashi Castle (Koka)
Japanese Name 黒川氏城
Founder Kurokawa
Year Founded early 1600s ?
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Kibukawa Sta (JR Kusatsu Line), local bus (Tsuchiyama Bus) to Ayukawaguchi, 15 min walk
Visitor Information mountain, open 24/7
Time Required 120 mins
Website https://shiroexpo-shiga.jp/column/no19.html
Location Koka, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 57' 5.65" N, 136° 20' 24.00" E
Loading map...
Collections Koka Castles
Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2023
Admin Visits March 19, 2023
Friends of JCastle

(one vote)
Add your comment
Jcastle.info welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.