Ogaki Castle 大垣城
Founder Miyakawa Yasusada
Year 1535
Type Flatland
Condition Reconstructed
Reconstructed 1959 (concrete)
Structure 4 levels, 4 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Local Historic Site
Location Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Ogaki Station, 7 minute walk
Website Ogaki City - Gifu Travel Guide
Visited April 1996

Ogaki-jo was once a very large castle with a beautiful main keep. In 1936 the main keep was designated a National Treasure, but it unfortunately burned down during WWII. The main keep was reconstructed in 1959 but all that remains of the once great castle is the reconstructed main keep in a small park.

The main keep of Ogaki-jo is very interesting because it is very rare for a main keep in Japan to be built with 4 levels. In Japan, the character for the number "4" ( yon ) can also be read shi which means "death." Therefore, "4 levels" could be read " shisoo which means "a look someone has shortly before death." That would be a very bad sign for any castle. They get around this by saying that the first roof you see on the bottom is actually just a "canopy" in the middle of the first level so it is a 3 level castle with a lower canopy.


The current main keep was built in 1595 by Ito Sukemori. Because of its proximity to three major rivers (Kiso, Nagara and Ibi rivers), Hideyoshi considered it a vital castle to control. In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Ishida Mitsunari and Utaki Hideie planned to fight the Tokugawa forces here, but Tokugawa managed to draw them out to the field of Sekigahara where they met their defeat. Meanwhile, other forces loyal to Tokugawa stormed the castle.

After the Battle of Sekigahara several different Tokugawa daimyo ruled over Ogaki-jo until the Toda Ujiteru came to power in 1635. The Toda continued to rule for 11 generations.

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  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    May 23, 2016 at 09:59 PM
    The visit to the castle was made all the more pleasant because it was the day Ogaki city held it's matsuri and the streets were lined with stalls and the castle was just one place where people congregated.
  • ART    January 02, 2016 at 09:18 AM
    You can also see Gifu Castle from this castle. My eyes are decent enough and you can make out a white blip on top of distant Mount Kinka from Ogaki Castle's keep.
  • Eric    November 16, 2015 at 10:59 PM
    Thanks. The website link has been updated.
  • jorma.driel    November 08, 2015 at 05:53 AM
    The link to the castle is http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/39/ and the official link is http://www2.og-bunka.or.jp/bunka/manage/oogakijo.html
  • RaymondW    June 18, 2011 at 10:07 PM
    Eric,I think it is definitely worth having a link to the official castle pages. BTW, went to Ogaki Castle again this week. Finally manage to make it inside to see the castle museum. It is definitely worth the 100yen admission. On the first floor, there are some weapons on display and some of the replicas you can actually play around with. There are several suits of armour on display. On the 2nd floor, there are some paintings of the lords of the castle. Scattered around the museum are video displays about the Battle of Sekigahara as well as the history of Ogaki Castle. If you have some time, do go and follow the canals which used to ring the much bigger original Ogaki Castle. Sections of it have been planted with cherry trees. I'm kicking myself for not going out further and checking them out when I was at Ogaki Castle during the cherry blossom period earlier in the year.
  • Eric    April 26, 2011 at 11:36 PM
    Thanks Raymond. I updated the link. Do you think it is worth having a link to the castle homepages? They often change making them difficult to maintain, but if people keep telling me when the links don't work I'll update them.
  • RaymondW on My Page    April 10, 2011 at 09:53 AM
    The cherry blossoms around Ogaki Castle are in full bloom this week. All the renovations are done, so the castle looks brand new on the outside. For those visiting on a weekday, this place is closed on Tuesdays. BTW, the official Ogaki City webpage for Ogaki Castle in Japanese is http://www.city.ogaki.lg.jp/0000000577.html
  • MM    January 11, 2011 at 01:26 AM
    Actually, I do know of 1 castle which was: Shurijo was bombarded during the Battle of Okinawa because it was a Japanese stronghold.
  • Eric    January 09, 2011 at 07:28 PM
    I don't think any castles were bombed for being castles. Ogaki was full of industrial factories which were the target. The castle burned with the rest of the town. Ogaki is also a strategic point for logistics and transportation.
  • john    January 08, 2011 at 11:26 PM
    I wonder why we bombed so many castles in world war two; i mean they have no strategic value!
  • furinkazan on My Page    October 16, 2010 at 07:07 PM
    Today i made a triple. Ogaki, Hikone and Nagahamacastles. I knew, using this site, that this castle was under repair. Still i went there because it was on my way to Hikone. The tenshu is completely under the scaffolds. I won7t give stars for now, but i think i'll give only 2, because the site and the artifacts on show aren't pleasing.
  • Learoy on My Page    July 13, 2010 at 02:20 PM
    Castle was under construction when I was there so wont rate it till after a future visit
  • Ben    March 24, 2008 at 09:03 PM
    This castle should be at least 4 stars because of its historical importance. This was the headquarters of the Western Army during Sengoku jidai. I visited it last year as part of a trifecta of Ogaki Castle, Okachiyama and Sekigahara battlefield and was moved profoundly.
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Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture
Ogaki Castle views
donjon main keep
main keep