Shogunyama Castle




The castle was built around 1520 by Hosokawa Takakuni, a powerful general under the shogun Ashikaga Yoshiharu, but may have roots in an earlier fort from the Onin Wars. Takakuni lost the castle to Hosokawa Harumoto in 1531. Ashikaga Yoshiharu would take direct control of the castle in 1546 and renovate it himself. He requisitioned so many workers and supplies from other projects that records reveal the redirection of resources. When attacked by Miyoshi Nagayoshi in 1547, Ashikaga Yoshiharu and Yoshiteru set fire to the castle and fled to Sakamoto on the other side of Mt. Hiei. After this, the castle was only lightly used. The main force of the Shogun was stationed at nearby Nakao Castle and Ryozan Castle. When the combined forces of the Asakura and Asai assailed Usayama Castle while Nobunaga was in Osaka, he and Akechi Mitsuhide first doubled back to Shogunyama Castle before returning to defend Usayama Castle. Akechi Mitsuhide may have also used the castle in 1570 during the Shiga Campaigns to keep Enryakuji in check. After Nobunaga solidified his power in Kyoto the castle was abandoned. The shogun's forces were stationed at nearby Nakao Castle and Ryazan Castle.

Visit Notes

Shogunyama Castle sits atop Mt. Uryu, directly behind the Tanikudanisan Fudo-in temple. The temple is well known for the Kiyomizudera looking stage and is a special place to pray for recovery from illness. The castle can be found by taking the trail out the back of the temple. The castle ruins are along the Kyoto Trail so they are not difficult to find. There is a spacious honmaru bailey with many smaller baileys radiating out from it along the ridges.

There is also a fort of Shogunyama-jo atop Mt. Shiratori about 500 meters north of Mt. Uryu called the North Castle (北城) or Demura (出丸). I read several blogs and accounts of people visiting this fort who got lost or could not find it, but I thought I was prepared. Apparently I made the same mistake as many others and took the "easy" looking ridge trail in the wrong direction, but eventually I found my way and did not give up like some others! The views to the north of Kyoto were stunning and worth the additional effort.

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  • Trail from the shrine
  • Trailhead to the castle
  • North Castle starts here

Castle Profile
English Name Shogunyama Castle
Japanese Name 将軍山城
Alternate Names Kitashirakawara-jo, Shogunjizoyama-jo, Uryusan-jo
Founder Hosokawa Takakuni
Year Founded 1520
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Ichijoji Station (Eizan Rail); 25 min walk to Tanukidanisan Fudoin and then 20 mins walk to the castle
Visitor Information mountain trails, open 24/7
Time Required 120 mins
Location Kyoto, Kyoto
Coordinates 35° 2' 18.92" N, 135° 48' 6.59" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2022
Admin Visits January 10, 2022
Friends of JCastle
Shirobito: Shogunyama-jo
Kojodan: Shogunyama-jo

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25 months ago
Score 0++
Did you use a map? This site appears to be vast even if there's not much to see. There are ruins on peaks both north and south of Mt Shiratori, and then four satellite forts / bailey groupings along the ridge which descends to the 'Kyoto Trail Higashiyama Course'. Have you tried that course yet?


25 months ago
Score 0++
  • Edit: there are fort sites north and south -- don't know about actual ruins ^^"


25 months ago
Score 0++

I had a map for the part on Mt. Uryu and Shiratori-yama from the 2015 Kyoto-fu castle survey. I'm a little unsure about some of these other satellite forts, but it's something I'm looking into. There is an older survey from the 70s that lists things that are sometimes discounted in later surveys. I did a fair bit of walking around some of the other ridges and parts of the trail that day, but without a better map or signs I did not find castle ruins I was sure of although I may have been in the totally wrong areas.

The Kyoto Trail, even in the Higashiyama area, is incredibly more vast than the simple Higashiyama Course. There are dozens of side trails and it's a bit hard to know which part is the canonical Higashiyama Course of the Kyoto Trail without a map. I've hiked bits of several of the courses up and down the range from Hieizan down to the Nanzenji area but I never set out to do one hike following the main course.


25 months ago
Score 1++
I see! Might have to ask you for a map or two.