Echi Takano Castle
Takanojō was a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) built by the Ogura Clan. The Ogura had been placed in charge of protecting the upper reaches of the Echi River by the powerful Sasaki Clan. The valley was also used as a route to Ise, and was strategicially relevant. The Ogura were based at Echi Ogura Castle, located further down the Echi River. In the Late Sengoku Period Oda Nobunaga conquered Ōmi and built his headquarters of Azuchi Castle there. He died during the Honnōji Incident, however, which ushered in the era of Toyotomi Hideyoshi as kampaku (regent) of Japan. Toyotomi granted a small feif in this area to Oda Nobukichi, one of Nobunaga's sons, and a new residence, Takano Yakata, was built at a lower elevation from Takanojō. Nobukichi was probably still a child at the time and so the residence would've been de-facto lorded by his mother, Lady Onabe, (one of) Nobunaga's concubine(s). Takano Hall was the centre of a domain encompassing territory in the districts of Kanzaki and Inugami, dissevering the land from its previous association with the Ogura who were based in Echi District (Ogura Manor). Takano Hall was based in Kanzaki District.
There seems to be a degree of conflation between two separate but adjacent sites here. The site of Takanojō, the castle, is now that of a temple called Yōanji. My supposition at the time was the main bailey was the site of the temple hall, and the terracing beneath, which can be seen all along the lower mountain slopes, was originally carved for the castle, perhaps similar to the layout of Hyakusaijijō, though likely it found other, agricultural uses in subsequent centuries. Ishigaki can be found at the site of the fortified manor house below, though the ishigaki I found up at the yamajiro (mountain castle) may have not been related to either the site of the manor house or the castle, and may have been built for the temple or even just for a terraced field. Others may make their judgements by looking at the appearance of the stonework, though I would not feel confident in ascribing its origins. The stonework appears to be different from that found at the site of Oda Nobukichi's manor house, the Takano-yakata, which is nearby. Although the ishigaki shown is in the exact spot where the yamajiro was located, the enclosure it supports does not strike me as immediately "castle-like".
|English Name||Echi Takano Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Yōkaichi Station on the Kotō-Ōmi Line; 20 minute drive or 150 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||Free; 24/7; Forest|
|Time Required||20 minutes|
|Location||Higashi-Oumi, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 5' 3.30" N, 136° 18' 34.49" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|