Minegadōjō was a castle constructed over the ruins of a temple by Kizawa Nagamasa around 1527 on the orders of Hosokawa Harumoto, governor of Yamashiro Province, to protect against possible revolts against the Muromachi Shogunate. In 1534 Hosokawa kept 'half the rice in the Nishioka area in "Mine Castle"', according to the 『東寺百合文書』, in preparation for an Ikkō-Ikki revolt. Minegadōjō is also an interesting case study in temples which were converted into castles. The temple, Hokkesanji, was a vast complex with over fifty halls and pavilions, and a towering pagoda, but it was destroyed during the War of the Northern and Southern Courts. It seems that even before the medieval mountaintop castle the temple mount was used as an encampment, and this is what, according to the Taiheiki, led to its destruction. The castle appears to have been built in the early 16th century after wild fires destroyed a smaller reiteration of the temple. The fort held a very strategic position overlooking the route between Tanba and Kyōto, protecting the capital from the direction of Tanba. There are no records of Minegadōjō after Kizawa Nagamasa was killed in combat in Kawachi in 1542.
The ruins of Minegadōjō are extensive and include dorui (earthen ramparts), ishiźumi (stone walls), kuruwa (baileys), horikiri (trenches) and other earthworks. The castle layout is not standard and is difficult to understand, but put simply there is a main sort of blob of ruins with discontiguous fortified areas to the east of it. There is also a spur of earthworks on the otherside of the forest road from the main ruins, and probably the forest road was originally a trench. The worked mountain of this spur seemed to carry on someway but I did not have time to see how far. The aforementioned main blob is made up of three clusters of baileys, and it's not immediately clear which was intended to be the main area, though I may guess. Unfortunately we do not have a complete picture of this castle's footprint because its southern ruins were destroyed by suburban development of the Katsurazaka "New Town" in the 1980s. As I alluded to above there is also a pair of detached bailey clusters in the east. The north of these is a naturally odd shaped bailey with sizable dorui heaped up on its western flank. The south of these is a curious configuration, climbing in terraced steps up the mountainside but terminating suddenly with only the mountain ridge to connect it to the northern bailey.
|English Name||Minegadou Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Horikiri, Dorui, Kuruwa, Koshikuruwa|
|Access||Kami-Katsura Station on the Hankyū-Arashiyama Line; 12 minute walk to trail head behind Jōjuji Temple (another trail goes from Yamadaminamichō to the immediate south), or local bus to Goryōminegadōchō and trail starting there.|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||120 minutes|
|Coordinates||34° 59' 12.55" N, 135° 40' 31.12" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|