Niitakayama Castle and Takayama Castle


Niitakayama Castle and Takayama Castle


Today I added two castles from the second day of my trip to Hiroshima last autumn. Takayama Castle was the original home of the Kobayakawa until they built Niitakayama Castle across the river valley. Some of the stonework from Niitakayama was carried off to build Mihara Castle when that castle was built.


Niitakayama Castle / 新高山城


From a distance, Niitakayama looks like a really difficult climb, but it wasn’t as bad as it looks. It's average for a +200m elevation castle hike. The views from the top, especially this perfect hiking day, were incredible. There are various baileys along the route to the top of the mountain to keep you occupied and once at the top there are many such baileys around the peak. The peak area especially has the remains of many stone walls. Much of the stone was supposedly carried off to be used for the construction of Mihara Castle. I highly recommend visiting Niitakayama Castle along with Takayama Castle across the river for one full day of mountaintop castles.
Takayama Castle (Hiroshima) / 高山城(広島)


There are multiple routes up to this mountaintop castle, but if you're traveling by train, the one nearest the station works fine. The trailhead may be a little bit hard to find. I asked one local, who did not even know where the trailhead was, but we managed to find it together. If you follow the map or look at the locations of the photos on the map below, you should find find some signs pointing the way to the castle. The trail to the top, however, is narrow, sandy, and slippery. Good hiking shoes and a trekking pole or walking stick are highly recommended. There were some bamboo poles set out at the trailhead, take one if you don't have any with you. The castle itself blew away my expectations. I really think it should be as as highly regarded as Niitakayama Castle across the valley. There are two strings of baileys across two ridges. You should be able to see it well on the map of photos below. There are some great views, trenches, and some stonework scattered throughout. The layout looks fairly simple, but even with the map I got disoriented at one point and scrambled up a steep side to on one part I had already been to. The top of the mountain is heavily covered in brush but the volunteers who maintain the site are miracle workers keeping some trails and baileys clear for you to enjoy the site. I would still avoid summer months, however, it is impossible to keep weeds in check year round.
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