Akozu Castle was established in the period of North and Southern Courts by Ogasawara Mitsusada, who founded the Akozu Clan. The castle was under the local supervision of the Yuri Clan for much of its history. As part of the Yuri faction, the Akozu clan, as allies of the Tokugawa, marched out from the castle to participate in the Battle of Sekigahara. En route they heard that a large enemy force was amassing in the west and so the Yuri vassal serving as commander ordered the retreat back home. The Yuri commander was thereafter demoted and the reputation of the Yuri and Akozu suffered. The castle ceased to function in 1612 after the establishment of nearby Honjōjō.
I went to discover the extant ruins of this castle which sits on a mountain behind Kameda Castle, now covered by mock reconstructions. I found two baileys of Akaotzujō, the honmaru (main bailey) and sannomaru (third bailey), which has the weird pagoda-shaped museum on it, now abandoned. I also passed over a ravine, a natural feature incorporated into the defences of the castle. Exploring these ruins was an adventure, not least because large parts of the mountain are neglected. There are no direction posts or markers, and all but one of the signs have been removed, and the remaining one you can see has been heavily edited, mostly to remove indications of the theme park which used to be on the mountain, its remaining abandoned buildings now scattered about. Going by maps I found online, there used to be a ferris wheel and slides. The roads are barred. The road by which I descended the mountain is a raised, winding path now choked by vegetation. This creates a sense of foreboding, but if you brave this and reach the honmaru without getting lost, you will be rewarded with excellent views. Akaotzujō commanded a vast view and relied on a natural features for its defence.
|English Name||Akozu Castle|
|Year Founded||14th Century|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Ugo-Kameda Station on Uetsu Line|
|Visitor Information||24hr / free|
|Time Required||1 hour|
|Location||Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture|
|Coordinates||39° 29' 52.84" N, 140° 5' 23.89" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2016|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|