Echi Hirai Castle
Hiraijō was once an expansive fortified site, somewhere between both a medieval fortified manor and a fortified settlement. Various lords are recorded as having lorded Hiraijō. It is thought that leading local clansmen amassed power here by controlling the water supply through irrigation channels. The fort is said to have been built by Ogura Nyūdō. Other rules are recorded such as Sasaki Hatagashira, Ogura Senhito, and Ogura Sanei. Ogura Sanei styled himself as a daimyō and it is thought that he controlled the water supply of Echi County from Hiraijō. It later became the main base of the Hirai Clan, who were valued vassals of both Rokkaku Yoshikata and Rokkaku Yoshiharu. In the Nanbokuchō Period, the Hirai Clan fell under the Echi-Hirai faction or the Ogura-Hirai faction. In the Sengoku Period, Hiraijō was lorded by Kagamori Sadatake, an important vasal of the Rokkaku Clan who was able to marry his daughter to Azai Nagamasa. It seems that Hiraijō was a much contested castle as it allowed individual lords to amass power by controlling irigation on the Echi River. Hiraijō apparently used Fujigawa, a tributary of the Echigawa, as a moat. The fort measured 100m by 150m. Local place names indicate features of the fort such as "the Stables" and "East Hall".
A marker designates the site as the ruins of Hiraijō but not much remains. Some local castle bloggers say that dorui (earthen rampart) remains exist(ed) on private property. It was not possible for me to get a good look. Apparently more ruins could be seen until recently, but those have now been destroyed. It just goes to show that small flatland sites like this, even in relatively rural areas, may be destroyed at any time.
|English Name||Echi Hirai Castle|
|Year Founded||Medieval Era|
|Castle Type||Fortified Manor|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Gokashō Station on the Ōmi Rail Kotō-Ōmi Line; 9 minute drive or 48 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||Private Property|
|Time Required||1 minute|
|Location||Aishou, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 9' 13.32" N, 136° 13' 26.69" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|