In 1521, Oishi Sadashige moved his castle here from nearby Takatsuki Castle. When Hojo Ujiyasu defeated the Ogigayatsu Uesugi in 1546 at the Battle of Kawagoe, the Oishi became vassals of the Hojo. Hojo Ujiyasu's son, Ujiteru, married into the Oishi clan 1558 effectively bringing Takiyama Castle under more direct control of the Hojo. From 1558 Hojo vastly renovated and expanded the castle with an eye towards the growing tensions around the Kanto area. Takeda Shingen's forces invaded the San-no-maru in 1569 but could not breach the Ninomaru. After this, Hojo Ujiteru wanted a stronger fortress and started work on Hachioji Castle. Takiyama Castle was abandoned around 1584.
You should look closely at the full map of this castle. You will notice that the only area with large deep trenches (brown segments) is the outside edge and mainly around the southern part of the castle. These baileys are also larger and "simpler" than the inner regions of the castle north and east of the Honmaru, but they have multiple defensive structures such as umadashi and masugata entrances and embankments built atop the trenches. It is likely that this is the area built by Ujiteru and the inner compounds without trenches were the original castle of the Oishi.
You will also see a blue area in the middle of the map that I've labelled "Benten Pond" on the photos. There is also a little compound overlooking this pond and a small island in the pond which you should be able to identify on the map. It is said that Hojo Ujiteru liked to entertain and one such entertainment was to put a musical group on that island in the middle of the pond and to entertain guests in the compound overlooking it. Guests could also be entertained in small boats on the pond. The area is of a lower elevation than the surrounding compounds creating a kind of natural amphitheater around the pond. I imagine it was quite an impressive event !
Hidden in the outskirts of Tokyo is this gem of a castle. It has started to gain more attention since being added to the "Next Top 100" castles, but I think it still does not get the recognition it deserves. Most visitors will probably stay on the main concrete trail and think that's all there is to see. In fact, Takiyama Castle is probably one of the most vast and intricate mountaintop castles in Kanto. It is much bigger than you might expect so please plan an appropriate amount of time to enjoy this castle. Some people call Sugiyama Castle the "textbook" of Kanto earthworks castles, but I think Takiyama is an even better example. Further it displays elements of both early and later Sengoku Period earthworks.
The castle is generally well signposted and has some good maps so be sure to get a map and pay attention to the non-paved side trails. The maps, photos and descriptions will not do this site justice. You need to take some time to explore and enjoy it for yourself. It's well maintained so it's easy to go off the main road and learn about Sengoku Period earthworks castles without the concern of getting lost in the mountains like you might elsewhere.
As you will see in the photos below, I may have gotten carried away with too many photos of the trenches and moats but they're just too clean and easy to get down into that you want to explore more and are constantly impressed to take more photos. I've tried to organize the photos into logical groups. Before each group is a map that roughly highlights the area covered in the next section of photos. There are some areas currently off limits due to damage from a typhoon in late 2018, please be careful and stay away from roped off areas.
There is a volunteer corps that meets on the third Sunday of every month to help clear brush from the trenches and trails and keeps the site open for all. Thanks to their dedication and hard work this castle is made accessible to all. You can see more details on their website (sorry, Japanese only). I try to help when I can too so if you're interested in joining sometime feel free to reach out, maybe we can join together some time. It's a great opporunity to see a castle from new angles and climb down into so normally off limits areas.
The bus stops almost right in front of the castle entrance. The bus stop is called Takiyama Castle Bus Stop.
|English Name||Takiyama Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Hachioji Sta (Chuo Line), 20 min bus|
|Visitor Information||Park, open any time|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Coordinates||35° 42' 5.22" N, 139° 19' 44.51" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2009|
|Admin Year Visited||2009, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019|
|Admin Visits||May 19, 2009; March 22, 2019 (excl. volunteer days)|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Kojodan - Takiyama Castle|
|Shirobito - Takiyama Castle|