Ogawa Nakanojo Castle (Koka)

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Ogawa Nakanojo Castle was likely built by the Tarao as an extension of Ogawa NIshinojo Castle protecting the other side of the valley and the route into Ogawa Castle.

Refer to the histories for Ogawa Castle and Ogawa NIshinojo Castle for more details

Visit Notes

You could easily get to the castle if you walk directly from the bus stop, but since I was at the top of the mountain at Ogawa Castle anyway, I did not feel like going back down the route I came and winding around the mountain again, so I elected to take the "trail" from Ogawa Castle down along the ridge to the other side of the mountain and Ogawa Nakanojo Castle.

Just before the main sign and entrance to Ogawa Castle, there is a small trail down to the side bailey of Ogawa Castle. Out the back of this bailey (on the downslope) you may see a small sign that points to Nakanojo Castle. I have read other accounts that say this "trail" is not recommended because it is steep, slippery, overgrown and somewhat dangerous to follow because it is not clearly marked. Actually, I have seen much worse and did not think it was overly difficult, but if you are unsure, don't take your chances. The trail is not really marked and even in winter you have to make some educated guesses at a couple spots to make sure you follow the correct part of the ridge. I used a topographic map app on my phone to make sure that I was heading where I wanted to. There are also maybe two spots where it was very narrow and a bit slippery.

I finally knew I was on the right trail when I found a horikiri trench along the way which was a huge relief. After this relatively small but well preserved horikiri are two more horikiri followed by a huge horikiri. This last one is very steep, slippery and overgrown making it a bit difficult to scale down and back up again, but once you do, you're now at the top of the huge embankment behind the main bailey of Ogawa Nakanojo Castle.

This castle is probably much easier to reach if you start from the town. Just follow the signs from the road side and you can't miss it. On the other hand you will likely miss the horikiri farther up the ridge and miss out out on the castle adventuring enjoyment of having followed the trail that ancient samurai likely used to cross from Ogawa Nishinojo Castle through this castle and up to the mountaintop fort of Ogawa Castle .

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  • path starts here from the Ogawa Castle bailey

Castle Profile
English Name Ogawa Nakanojo Castle (Koka)
Japanese Name 小川中ノ城
Founder Tarao clan
Year Founded mid 1500s
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Shigaraki Sta (Shigaraki Kogen Railway Line); 10 min bus, 20 min walk
Visitor Information Mountain, open 24/7
Time Required 45 mins
Website https://www.biwako-visitors.jp/spot/detail/4014/
Location Koka, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 50' 43.01" N, 136° 1' 59.81" E
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Collections Koka Castles
Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2023
Admin Visits March 12, 2023
Friends of JCastle
Jokaku Horoki

(2 votes)
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11 months ago
Score 0++

This is the smallest of the three castle ruins in the Ogawa set. It’s more akin to a toride (fort), providing a link between the Ogawa Castle up on top of the mountain with Ogawa Nishino Castle, possibly the main castle in the area.

Unlike Eric, I did not take the trail down from Ogawa Castle. Instead, Ogawa Nakano was the last castle I visited in the set of three Ogawa castles after sussing out Ogawa Nishino Castle. I walked up to the castle ruin instead down to it from Ogawa Castle. The first part of the trail up to Ogawa Nakano Castle is quite clear and certainly looks like a path, but then it takes a bit of work looking for rest of the trail amongst some fallen trees and undergrowth from a bailey just below the main bailey.

This castle ruin is fairly overgrown as you can see in Eric’s photos, but there is a big horikiri (deep ditch) which cuts across the spur that runs down the mountain to the back end of the castle. There is also a possible set of terraced baileys that runs parallel to the main bailey. I decided not to explore them because they looked too overgrown. In some ways, Ogawa Nakano Castle is like the other small earthwork castle ruins in the Koga (Koka) region, small and with a handful of baileys surrounding the main bailey carved into the side of a hill or mountain.


11 months ago
Score 0++
Ray, good point. I actually started down into those "baileys" but turned back after crawling over 2 fallen trees on the hillside and not seeing any good footing down into them from the main part of the castle. Even the map in the Koka City book gives "?" marks on them! It is possible/likely that this set of three terraced baileys in between this ridge and the next ridge were more like residential or farming areas. They're fairly big, wide and I don't see any recognizable defensive type structures or areas so I don't see them as being proper baileys given all the actual and clear castle structures nearby both at Ogawa Nakano-jo and Ogawa Nishino-jo. The next ridge over has some little unlabeled leveled areas according to the city history map too but it's straight up and I saw no way to reach them today.


11 months ago
Score 0++
You’re right about those possible baileys having a “?” over them on the map produced by the Koga BoE. Since I didn’t get into those baileys, I can’t tell if they look more like farm terraces or medieval baileys. From the trailhead, I took the path up into the bailey below the main bailey and then followed it into a fairly bushy part of this castle ruin. At that point, I decided it wasn’t worth going any further and decided to try to find a way up to the Main Bailey. That is always the case with exploring lesser known and poorly maintained yamajiros. There are simply sections of the castle that is inaccessible or not worthwhile exploring because it is just covered in undergrowth and weeds.