A historical document, 『江州佐々木南北詰士帳』, mentions that Sameǵai was home to Dohi Genba, a vassal of the Sasaki. 『淡海国木間攫』says that it was home to Sameǵai Saburō, a samurai following the Asai Clan. Of the two it seems that the Dohi were most likely castellans at Sameǵaijō, at least originally. The Dohi were known in the area as the 'Three Branches of Dohi', with their families controlling Sameǵai, Tawada (on the otherside of the mountain to the north of Sameǵai) and Banba (southeast) from the Kamakura to Muromachi periods. However, the castle's history is largely unknown.
Sameǵaijō is a castle site on a small hill, or large hillock I suppose - hillet?, overlooking the traditional inn town of Sameǵai-juku. The shukuba (post town) has lots of nice architecture and I had also come to check it out (some pictures included here). The ruins of the castle are well hidden. A small alley to the southwest of the castle mount leads to a staircase to them. This stairway is maintained because the castle site is now a small cemetery shaded by bamboo. I actually went up from the northeast and came down in the southwest, but there is no trail from the northeast. It looks like there used to be a concrete stairway beneath the motorway but now it's gone or buried.
The castle's structure is of a small central bailey area with terraced belt baileys in three tiers. The shukuruwa (main bailey) is only about 10m². To the north are some narrower banded baileys. The slopes are clearly carved, and ishigaki (stone walls) can also be seen. Beneath the castle mount the Jizō River was used as a moat. In its clear waters grow the Baikamo (marine plum blossom) for which the river is famous. The castle's residential area was likely where the shukuba subsequently grew up. The hillock I mentioned originally was part of a ridge but now a large motorway has severed it from the ridge. It's possible that there are more remains of fortifications on the ridge on the opposite side of the expressway, but I was not able to find out.
|English Name||Samegai Castle|
|Founder||Dohi Clan (probably)|
|Year Founded||Kamakura Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Ishigaki, Kuruwa, Koshi-kuruwa, Obikuruwa, Kirigishi|
|Access||Sameǵai Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line; 5 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||20 minutes|
|Location||Maibara, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 19' 37.49" N, 136° 20' 57.01" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|