|Alternate Name||Asagiri-jo, Keirozan-jo|
|Admin's Rating||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆|
|Location||Tatsuno, Hyogo Pref.|
|Access||Hontatsuno Station ( Line), 20 min walk|
|Website||Tatsuno City History Sightseeing|
|Visited||October 7, 2012|
|Visitor Info.||open 8:30-17:00, closed Mondays, except holidays where the following day will be closed. Also closed occasionally for preparing special exhibits. | Time Required: 60 mins for the buildings at the base of the mountain; 3hrs if you want to hike through the mountaintop castle remains|
|Notes||I was very surprised at the extensive remains around the mountaintop. It is an easy hike and well worth the time for castle fans. There are many terraced baileys up through the Otemichi to the honmaru. The hiking path may be a bit difficult to find. Look for the wooden box on a post with maps inside. It's around from the back and to the left of the palace near the koraimon gate.. Then you need to open and close the small gate next to the box of maps. You can also ask for directions and a map at the museum. Down the opposite side of the mountain on the way back you can also see the terraced remains of many samurai homes and gardens. It is probably very pretty in the fall for fall colors.|
Tatsuno Castle is actually made up of the mountaintop castle that sits atop Mt. Keirozan and the castle at the base of the mountain. The mountaintop castle was constructed around 500 years ago by Akamatsu Murahide and was controlled by four generations of the Akamatsu. In 1577, the Akamatsu turned over this castle to Hideyoshi who had conquered the Chugoku region. At this point, a new castle was constructed at the base of the mountain as a subordinate castle to Himeji Castle.
Until Wakisaka Yasumasa became lord of the castle in 1672, it changed hands several times leading to the degredation of both the castle and the surrounding castle town. The castle and town were reinvigorated under Wakisaka where his descendents continued to rule over the region until the Meiji Period. The famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi trained at Enkoji Temple and taught his disciples here in Tatsuno. The current Honmaru Palace, gates and yagura are wooden reconstructions.
Situated just 15km from Himeji in the Southwest of the Harima Region, Tatsuno has thrived since old days due its location near the Ibo River and convenient transportation. The town itself is rather small, but as you walk the narrow streets among houses you can see old samurai homes and temples whle enjoying the historic atmosphere. It has also been called the "little Kyoto" of Harima.