Yamanaka Castle 山中城
Founder Hojo Ujiyasu
Hojo
Year 1560's
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Mishima Station (Tokaido Honsen), 30-40 minute bus ride
Website Sengoku Shizuoka
Visited July 27, 2002; Nov 10, 2012
Visitor Info. The park is open any time. | Time Required: 2 hrs
Notes There are no buildings or structures remaining, but you can really understand the layout and grounds of a sengoku period mountaintop castle. The Hojo put all their castle construction techniques and know-how into building this castle. The rare and unique defenses and moat structures are superbly preserved. This castle is a must see for any castle fan. At the entrance to the Daisaki Demaru Bailey, along the roadside, and parking lot is a small shop where you can also get a map and the Top 100 castle stamp.
History This castle was founded by Hojo Ujiyasu to protect the main Hojo stronghold at Odawara. It was part of a string of fortifications that inlcuded Nirayama Castle and Ashigara Castle. As relations between Hojo and Toyotomi Hideyoshi worsened, Hojo Ujimasa began to strengthen the fortifications of Yamanaka Castle around 1587. At this time, the Daisaki Demaru Bailey was constructed to overlook the road leading to Odawara. In 1590 before Hojo had completed the new fortifications, Hideyoshi launched the full force of nearly 70,000 troops against the meager 4,000 defenders of Yamanaka Castle. It is said that the castle fell in less than a half day and in only 2 hours by some accounts. This was the first assault by Hideyoshi on Odawara in his campaign to overthrew the Hojo.
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  • BranV    July 14, 2013 at 06:48 PM
    My the wife and I just got done visiting this castle today. RaymondW's directions from Mishima are spot on. You will see a large green sign on the right of the road that will include the English words "Yamanaka Fort Ruins". Please do be aware that the return bus fare, depending on if you take the bus from the stop above or below the ruins will cost you 640 and 610 yen respectively.
  • NPK on My Page    November 14, 2012 at 10:22 PM
    A site worth some time to explore in any season. Although picturesque at any time of year, it would make a great place for a picnic lunch on a fine spring day or autumn afternoon. Interesting moat design, wooden bridges, and a 500-to-600 year-old tree are just some of the points of interest. All in all, a well-kept site (spanning both sides of the road) with nice views. If you are passing through, this is not a site to be missed!
  • RaymondW on My Page    January 08, 2012 at 10:31 PM
    I went to this castle today. This castle is little bit hard to get to by public transport if you throw in all the traffic jams on the “Coming-of-Age” long weekend in January. The bus back to Mishima was late by over 30 minutes, and once it came, it took around 45 minutes to get back to JR Mishima Station. Still, if you are a yamashiro (mountaintop castle) fan and want to see some very well preserved moats and earthworks, then this is one castle ruin that you should not miss. There are all kinds of dry moats, some spanned by wooden bridges. The whole site is very well kept and free. From the Nishinomaru (Western Bailey) and the Daizaki Outer Bailey, one has a very fine view of the Mt. Fuji and nearby mountains on a fine day. Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy today, so Mt. Fuji was shrouded in cloud. The siege and battle was over quite quickly. According to “日本を変えたしずおかの合戦” (Battles in Shizuoka Which Changed Japan), Toyotomi had 67,800 troops vs Hojo’s 4,000 to 5,000 defenders. With odds of at least 15 to 1, it is not surprising that the castle fell so quickly. It took me 2.5 hours to do this site quickly, but I reckon you could spend a good half day here if you bring along a packed lunch to enjoy while admiring the panoramic views from some of the baileys. Take the bus from the No.5 bus stop outside JR Mishima Station and catch the one with Hakone as its final destination. Get off at the Yamanaka Castle Ruin Stop. A one-way ticket cost 590yen and takes around 30 minutes if there are no traffic jams. The 100 Meijo stamp is in the little shop / restaurant opposite the bus stop when you get off. For me, this is a very good 2.5 stars because it is one of the few castle ruins which showcase so clearly the different types of dry moats used by Sengoku Period yamashiros.
  • Kris    January 21, 2011 at 09:28 PM
    Not from Yamanaka, (late afternoon clouds had come over and we were mostly looking the other way), but we did get amazing shots of Fuji from across the sea near Toi. Sounds like a good reason to come back.
  • Eric    January 12, 2011 at 06:31 AM
    Could you see Mt. Fuji from the castle?
  • Kris on My Page    January 11, 2011 at 09:59 PM
    I went to Yamanaka yesterday coming back from Shizuoka. There was snow in the moats – it was amazing. Previous visitors had left snowmen in the various areas - they were like poor, out-numbered Hojo soldiers struggling to guard the fort; there were also toboggan tracks in the De-no-maru. In terms of view it is great location for a castle – it's a shame view counts for so little when you're outnumbered 17 to 1. Currently there is some repair work going on until March. The area near the Nishi-no-maru unebori is closed off on one side but you can still take decent photos of the moats. I learnt a lot about moats at this castle - it's an excellent example of Hojo-style castle building – especially the shoji-bori and une-bori moats. The sunset was breath-taking; if it is clear you should definitely head down to the lower parking lot and watch the sun set.
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Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture
Yamanaka Castle views
shojibori of the NIshinomaru Shojibori moats of the Nishinomaru bailey
Nishinomaru Bailey shojibori moat Nishinomaru Bailey shojibori moats
Shojibori moat shojibori moats of the Nishinomaru bailey
Shojibori moat between the West Yagura and the NIshinomaru Bailey Unebori around the West Yagura
Unebori of the Nishinomaru Bailey Shojibori and unebori moats of the Nishinomaru Bailey
Unebori near the West Yagura Unebori near the West Yagura
Unebori near the West Yagura Nishinomaru Bailey
Nishinomaru (West Bailey) Ninomaru bailey
Nishinomaru Unebori Ninomaru Bridge
Ninomaru entrance Ninomaru entrance
Ninomaru bailey Looking from the Ninomaru to the Nishinomaru
Ninomaru and road to the wells Bridge between the Ninomaru and Honmaru baileys
Honmaru unebori Honmaru bailey
Main keep foundation Bridge to the Kitanomaru bailey
Kitanomaru bailey Dry moat on the north side
Unebori between the Honmaru and Ninomaru Daisaki Demaru Bailey
Unebori of the Daisaki Demaru bailey yagura foundation in the Daisaki Demaru
Unebori of the Daisaki Demaru bailey Daisaki Demaru Bailey
Map