Ono Castle 大野城
Ohno Dazaifu Gate
Picture Donated by Kris
Founder Yamato Court
Year 665
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Special Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Ohno City, Fukuoka Pref.
Map Google Map
Access By car: there is car parking at Shiouji-kenmin-no-mori. There is also a community bus from Daizaifu station, or Nishitetsu bus from Fukuoka Station.
Website Ohno City - Ohno Castle Ruins
Visited Viewer Donated
Visitor Info. Park facilities are open: April to September 9:00~6:00 October to March 9:00~5:00 | Time Required: Several hours: a lot of walking required between sites.
Notes Ono castle in effect comprises the entire mountain, with the various remains of stone walls, storehouses, ponds and gates scattered across it. It currently doubles as a nature park so there are many trails for hiking and enjoying nature - access to specific parts of the castle being inadequately sign-posted and at times confusing. The nearby Mizuki castle remains are usually considered a set with Ono castle, both erected in defense of Dazaifu, so these two sites may be of interest too.

profile and photos contributed by Kris

History Ono castle is considered Japan's oldest castle. It was built to defend the cultural-political centre of Daizaifu, and provide refuge if Daizaifu fell under attack. According to the `Chronicles of Japan,` (Nihon Shoki), in the year 660, the Baekje (Kudara) kingdom on the Korean peninsula was besieged by the Tang-Silla alliance, and requested a relief force from the Yamato court in Japan. Crown Prince Naka no Ōe, later to become Emperor Tenji, and Empress Saimei ordered the dispatch of troops and ships, who ultimately sustained heavy casualties at the Battle of Baekgang in 663. Suffering from critical losses, and fearing retribution or invasion from the victorious Tang-Silla alliance, the Yamato court ordered the creation of Ono castle. This involved fortifying some eight kilometres of mountaintop and constructing and provisioning over 70 storehouses within the defenses. Other shore-based defenses and island-based signal towers were also constructed around this time, although the expected attack never came.

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Comment on this castle
  • Eric    March 21, 2017 at 11:45 PM
    92! Well done. That's quite a feat.
  • onnajoshu    March 15, 2017 at 09:01 PM
    I visited Onojo on March 16, 2017, which was my 92nd stamp in my 100 Meijo book. It was cold and windy, but a nice HIKE to the top. Onojo is one of the more difficult castles to get to because the directions are poor and the climb long and steep. Even the people that gave me the stamp had no idea what the castle was. To get there, I caught the community bus at the JR Onojo Station (100 yen) which you get right at the East Exit parking lot (they depart about every 30 minutes), and got off at stop #18 (clearly marked on the bus monitor) which was the Sougoukoen Iriguchi stop that takes about 20 minutes. Once off the bus, go straight under the underpass and circle around the baseball fields to the Sougoutaikukan (sports complex building). You can get your 100 Meijo stamp there too. There are stairs to the right of the building that circle to the back where the trailhead to the top of the mountain begins. This is very steep and often is like a stairway for 1 km -- my FitBit told me that I had gone up 96 flights of stairs when I got to the top! It took about an hour up. This trail intersects the circular castle trail that is in the map that Kris posted. I am 67 years old and did the round trip in about 4 hours. The views from the top are really incredible and the trail hiking was great -- but there was not much related to a castle to see. I would probably rate this as 1 star for the castle, but lots of stars for the hike and view. To get back to Onojo Station I caught the community bus at the exact place I got off and paid another 100 yen.
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Ohno City, Fukuoka Pref.
Ono Castle views
Ohno Dazaifu Gate Hyakken Stone Wall
Stone wall near the Dazaifu Gate Large Stone wall
Map