|Reconstructed||2000 (Osyoin Palace)|
|Admin's Rating||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆|
|Historical Site||National Historic Site|
|Historical Value||Top 100 Castles|
|Location||Sasayama, Hyogo Pref.|
|Access||Sasayama-guchi Station (Fukuchiyama Line), bus|
|Notes||All photos and text donated by Kenji Yamamoto|
From the top of Mt. Takashiro to the Southeast of Sasayama Castle the Hatano ruled over the Tanba area from Yagami Castle. Yagami Castle fell to attacks by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579. In 1608 Tokugawa Ieyasu's son Matsudaira Yasushige became lord of Yagami Castle. The following year, Ieyasu initiated the construction of Sasayama Castle while dismantling Yagami Castle as part of his plan to better control Osaka Castle, the Toyotomi and the other lords of Western Japan. The castle was designed by Todo Takatora and completed in only six months. It is famous for having an intact gate type called umadashi.
Eventually, all the structures of this castle were destroyed and in 1944 the Oshoin Palace was burned in a fire. The palace was reconstructed from original pictures and also by making reference to the Ninomaru Palace at Nijo Castle. You can see many of these original pictures and the reconstruction progress on the website (http://www.city.sasayama.hyogo.jp/osyoin/konja00.html).
Sasayama sits in a basin surrounded by mountains on all sides. When visiting this location it is easy to get caught up in the castle and castle town in such an isolated atmosphere of mountains. Even though there are almost no structures reamining of the castle today one can easily imagine what it was like surrounded by the atmosphere of this castle and castle town. There is also a museum and samurai home to tell the story of samurai in this area.
This area is famous for a kind of black bean and wild boar meat. These Tanba area beans are large and sweet with an excellent flavor. They also have bread among many other dishes made from these beans. There are few tourists during the off season though there tend to be many for Cherry Blossoms in the spring and the Summer Festival.Rating: 3 Stars (Castle 2.5 stars, Town 2.5 Stars)