Ogurayama Castle

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Ogurayama1.jpg

History

Ogurayama Castle was built as a retirement castle for Kanamori Nagachika. After his death and the early death of his heir, the castle was decommissioned in 1611. A local magistrate's office was built on the site in 1615.


Visit Notes

The castle site is in Ogura Park, which is a 15 minute walk from Minoshi Station. From afar, it looks like a nice reconstructed castle however, when you visit, you'll find the actual structure is an open-air lookout tower that just has a mock-castle roof. There is a nice view, but the expectations that it sets from a distance make it quite a disappointment. There are also some stone walls and earthworks from the original castle.




Gallery


Castle Profile
English Name Ogurayama Castle
Japanese Name 小倉山城
Founder Kanamori Nagachika
Year Founded 1601
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Artifacts Mogi-yagura and (concrete) dobei; ishigaki
Features turrets, stone walls, walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Umeyama Sta (Nagaragawa Rail Etsumi-NanLine), 15 min walk
Visitor Information Always Open/Free
Time Required 30 mins
Website http://www.city.mino.gifu.jp/pages/1711
Location Mino, Gifu Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 33' 2.12" N, 136° 54' 39.24" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2015
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed


1.00
(3 votes)
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ARTShogun

7 months ago
Score 0++
Updated to yellow for mock yagura.
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ARTShogun

8 months ago
Score 0++

Ogurayamajō (Mino)  小倉山城[美濃]

Ogurayamajō is a hirayamajiro (hilltop castle) ruin in Gifu Prefecutre. The site features ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) and mock castle structures, including walls and the "corner yagura", which is actually a stage with a castle-shaped husk around it. From afar it seems as though there may be another castle structure at the top of the hill, but this is in fact an observation platform with a vaguely castle-shaped rooftop, but is otherwise not remotely castle-like, which is a disappointment since a map of the park depicts it as a castle turret! Some might call this deception...

The site is pretty awful and has very strong mogi (fake) vibes. The ishigaki is in a dubious state but is probably worth visiting for those castle enthusiasts who want to visit every castle with significant ishigaki remaining - like me! The ishigaki demarcates terracing at the base of the mountain. The first two terraces' ishigaki ramparts are dubiously recreated or restored with concrete, but the ishigaki on the third, where the mock turret sits, looks older. There's very little on the mountain itself, apart from some bailey spaces, as the mountain redoubt was used very little, and most of the site's functions were confined to the lower terraces throughout the Edo Period.

The hillside is covered in strange little huts which were once food vendors and bars, presumably used during the warmer months and during cherry blossom season, but it seems like they may have all been abandoned for years. These shacks have been in place since at least the 1930s, surprisingly, and I like the idea of the townsfolk spending cool nights and spring days here on the hillside strewn with lanterns and lush with greenery.

Ogurayamajō's most redeeming feature is that the surrounding town, which could be described as the jōkamachi (castle town) of the castle, has a preserved distict of Edo Period townhouses, the Udatsu no agaru machinami, including the Imai Redisence, which is open to the public to tour.

History:

Ogurayamajō was built as a seat of retirement for Kanamori Nagachika, Lord of Hida-Takayama Domain (which is kind of like how Sunpujō was Tokugawa Ieyasu's retirement castle, I suppose). This was in 1605. Nagachika died in 1608 and the castle became the seat of the small Kōzuchi Domain, ruled by Kanamori Nagamitsu, Nagachika's son. In 1611, Kōzuchi-han became part of Owari-han and Ogurayamajō was abandoned, but its lower terraces were re-purposed from 1782 when it became a daikansho ("Daikan" refers to an Edo Period local governor, sometimes called "magistrate" in English). So the site sort of functioned as a downscaled castle throughout the Edo Period. A town developed during this time which is well preserved today, famous for its traditional urban architecture incorporating udatsu (one could call them "roof walls").
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ARTShogun

11 months ago
Score 1++
Also added images of (castle) town
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ARTShogun

11 months ago
Score 0++
Added ishigaki pictures to gallery
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SuupaahiirooAshigaru

50 months ago
Score 1++

Not really worth it. Even the views from the top are blocked by trees. There's one reconstructed yagura near the foot of the mountain that looks kinda like it should. The viewing platform on top only looks only somewhat convincing from a distance, when you get near it, it really looks like a modern lookout tower. I don't know what the lower yagura is used for, there seemed to be a large garage door in it so it might be for storage? I couldn't enter it when I was there.

The town with the udatsu (special walls to prevent fire from easily spreading around the town) is very nice though and definitely worth a visit. Together with (for example) Tatsuno in Hyogo Prefecture, I think it's a perfect destination for someone who wants to experience an Edo Period townscape but doesn't like the crowds of Takayama or Higashiyama in Kyoto.