October 23, 2013
Tajima Castle Tour Part 6: Takeda Castle
Hyogo 100 Blogger Sengoku Trip
This is the last post from my recent Hyogo castle trip. For Day 3 I visited Takeda Castle. It was actually my second visit to Takeda Castle. The first time I did not have as much time as I would have liked and did not visit the Ritsuunkyo area of the mountain across the valley so that was my main goal this time. The view from Ritsuunkyo was even better than I had imagined and highly recommend taking the time to visit for anyone going to Takeda Castle. You can take a taxi up the narrow mountain road to Ritsuunkyo for 900 yen, but beware that they will often refuse to go this route on weekends or other times of the year when traffic is heavy. The road is too narrow and becomes easily jammed.
Takeda Castle was founded in 1443 by the Otagaki, one of the top retainers of the Yamana clan. Hideyoshi's brother Hidenaga defeated Takeda Castle in 1577. In 1585 Akamatsu Hirohide became the new lord of the castle and was charged with renovating it as a stronger castle to help control the Ikuno silver mines. The stone walls date from this period.
Access: 60 minute walk from Takeda Station. Currently you can only take a somewhat long route to get to the castle do to construction, but once the construction is compete you can take the Ura Tozan Michi from behind Hojuji Temple for about 30 minutes. For Ritsuunkyo, it's a bout a 60 minute walk to the parking area and another 30 minutes to the highest view point.
Ritsuunkyo has 3 main viewing areas. This photo is taken from the #3 viewpoint, which is lowest and near to the parking area. This is a similar elevation to the castle so it's like you are looking straight on.
The view from the #1 viewpoint. You are looking down on the castle from above.
If you have a pair of binoculars or a good zoom lens you can see the castle like this. From here you can easily see how the various baileys are each in different levels.
Kitasenjo and Sannomaru baileys.
From here we are actually on the castle site. This is the view from the Honmaru of the Minami Ninomaru and Minamisenjo baileys.
Looking out from the Minamisenjo.
Route to the Minami Ninomaru bailey.
Looking towards the Ninomaru and Honmaru baileys.
A little closer to the stone walls.
When visiting a castle ruin like this, it's easy to get caught up admiring the big stone walls, but you should take a look at your feet sometimes too. I like to look down over areas like this and think about what the route was, how the area was divided by walls, buildings, gates, and so forth.
View from the Honmaru towards the Minamisenjo bailey.
Honmaru stone walls
Hanayashiki bailey. I think this is a really interesting part of the castle but it's often overlooked by most visitors who just look down from the top and pass on by.
From inside the Hanayshiki you can see this nice tall stone wall.
View of the Honmaru from the Sannomaru bailey.
Looking towards the Honmaru and Minamisenjo baileys from the Ninomaru. Certainly the walls are impressive, but from this angle you can really see how it's built up on the top of the cliff. it's amazing to think how these walls were built in a time without cranes.
High stone walls of the main keep foundation.
View of the Kitasenjo area stone walls.
Bunomon gate ruins.
Otemon gate ruins.
Kannonji Castle. This small mountain next to Takeda Castle was the site of a satellite fortification of Takeda Castle. There is a trail from in front of the Otemon, but it is temporarily closed. I'll try it next time.
Jokoji Temple. As discussed in the Izushi Castle entry, the town around a castle created an important part of the castle defenses. In this network of defenses, temples often played a surprisingly important role and could be used as a satellite fortification in times of need. Takeda Castle is no exception and had a row of several temples along the base of the mountain.
Hojuji Temple. The white walls of this temple even have loopholes for rifles making no effort to disguise their defensive purpose. Actually these walls were reconstructed after they were destroyed in a typhoon in 2005. I've heard that in the original walls you could still see marks where they had been hit by gunfire.
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