Ichinomiya Castle 一宮城
Honmaru stone walls
Picture Donated by Raymond W.
Founder Ichinomiya (Ogasawara) Nagamune
Year 1338
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Prefectural Historic Site
Location Tokushima City, Tokushima Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Tokushima Sta. (Kotoku Line, Mugi Line); Bus and walk
Website Welcome to Tokushima City
Visitor Info. free, hiking trail, see details under notes | Time Required: 2.5 hours
Notes Access is by bus from Tokushima Station. You get off near Ichinomiya Shrine and Dainichi Temple (one of the Shikoku 88 Temples.) There is a sign at the bus stop indicating the direction to Ichinomiya Castle Ruin with a very detailed map of the area and bilingual (English / Japanese) explanation of Ichinomiya Castle. It takes around 30 minutes from the trailhead to get to the honmaru. There are plenty of stone wall remains at the honmaru as well as some overgrown ones on some of the lower baileys. Some of the baileys and moats are clearly signposted. While this castle ruin does not have as many cherry trees as Tokushima Castle, it does have a few strategically placed cherry trees and is quite pretty in early spring. There were very few castle visitors (encountered less than four people over 2.5 hours) and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom when I went there with my wife on a Sunday in early April. For me, this is a wonderful castle ruin worth two stars because it has few visitors, is well signposted, has a fabulous view from the honmaru, and there are enough defensive features (moats, baileys, stone walls, and gate ruin) to keep a castle fan entertained.
History Ichinomiya Castle was a large mountaintop fortress with multiple baileys situated in an area of strategic importance, which was bordered in front by the Akui River and in the rear by protective mountains. The remains of the Honmaru (Main Bailey) stone walls can clearly be seen. The Honmaru is situated at 144m above sea level. Nearby are the remnants of surrounding baileys (Myojinmaru, Saizomaru, Mizunotemaru, Oguramaru, and Shiinomaru) and a water reservoir. Since 1338, generations of the Ichinomiya family had been the ruling lord of the castle, but in 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi conquered Shikoku, and made Hachisuka Iemasa the new lord of the castle. Soon afterwards, Iemasa built Tokushima Castle and relocated there. In 1615, Ichinomiya Castle was dismantled under the one castle one feudal domain edict. There were two battles fought over Ichinomiya Castle, the first one was in 1581 between Ichinomiya Narisuke and Sogo Masayasu. Narisuke with support from Chosokabe Motochika beat Masayasu. In the second battle in 1585, Hashiba Hidenaga with 50,000 troops, which was part of the Toyotomi Hideyoshi invasion force of Shikoku, besieged the castle. They overwhelmed the defending 10,000 Ichinomiya troops in just 20 days by attacking the castle from three sides (north, east, and west) and cutting off its water supply.
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  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 10:58 PM
    Ichinomiyajō is an extensive mountaintop castle. One passes through Ichinomiya Shrine at the base of the mountain to hike up to the honmaru (main bailey). There are two enclosures along this route as well as trace amounts of ishigaki and a dorui-kōguchi (an easy to defend entrance formed from earthworks, the meaning “tiger’s maw”). The ishigaki of the honmaru takes upon an atmosphere of great antiquity surrounded as it is by nature in the quiet mountains. The honmaru expands beyond the jutting entrance portion and is wider than one expects (at first I mistook the whole bailey, seeing only part of it, for a tenshudai). The view from this vantage point is impressive.
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Tokushima City, Tokushima Pref.
Ichinomiya Castle views
Honmaru stone walls Honmaru and honmaru stone walls
Honmaru stone walls east side Honmaru stone walls North side
Honmaru Stone Walls Southeast Corner Map of the Honmaru and Central Part of the Castle Complex
Obi Kuruwa Gate Ruins of the  Obikuruwa
Entrance to the Saizomaru bailey Stone Stairs to the Myojinmaru bailey
Myojinmaru bailey Looking towards Tokushima City from Myojinmaru
Stone walls and a lower bailey below Myojinmaru Horikiri Between the Myojinmaru and Saizomaru baileys
Trail with Myojinmaru up on the right out of sight and Saizomaru in the background The mountain were the castle is located
Map of the Saizomaru Myojinmaru and Obi Kuruwa baileys Map