|Structure||4 levels, 4 stories|
|Admin's Rating||★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆|
|Historical Site||Local Historic Site|
|Location||Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture|
|Access||Ogaki Station, 7 minute walk|
|Website||Ogaki City - Gifu Travel Guide|
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.