|English Name||Akutagawasan Castle|
|Alternate Names||Miyoshisan Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Takatsuki Sta. (JR Tokaido Line), bus, 20 min walk|
|Visitor Information||The site is mostly untouched and the hiking trails are lightly maintained by volunteers. Private property, be considerate.|
|Time Required||75 mins|
|Coordinates||34° 52' 51", 135° 35' 18"|
|Visits||December 23, 2016|
HistoryIn 1515, Hosokawa Takakuni commanded one of his senior retainers, Nose Yorinori, to construct a castle on top of a 182m mountain near the strategic junction of three provinces: Settsu (present day southern part of Hyogo Prefecture and western part of Osaka Prefecture), Kawachi (present day eastern part of Osaka Prefecture), and Yamashiro (present day southern part of Kyoto Prefecture). Akutagawasan Castle also sits astride the Takatsuki-Kameoka Road.
In July 1553, Miyoshi Nagayoshi besieged the castle for a month, cutting off the food supply and starving the defenders into submission. Afterwards, he moved into Akutagawasan Castle from Koshimizu Castle in Nishinomiya. In 1560, Miyoshi Nagayoshi relocated to Iimoriyama Castle in Kawachi Province, leaving his son Miyoshi Yoshioki in charge of Akutagawasan Castle. However, Yoshioki died in 1563 from suspected poisoning and the castle passed into the hands of the Wada Clan. In 1573, the final lord of the castle, Takayama Ukon decommissioned Akutagawasan Castle and made Takatsuki Castle his main castle.
Akutagawasan Castle is a good example of an early to mid-Sengoku period yamajiro utilizing the terrain to heighten its defensive capabilities. It is surrounded on three sides by the U-curve of Akuta River with steep slopes running up from the river to the castle. The natural defensive advantages are augmented by dry moats, earthen embankments, outlying small baileys acting as listening posts, and some stone walls added during the Miyoshi reign. Akutagawasan Castle is a fortress complex divided into three main sections, the western cluster of baileys where the main bailey is located, the central cluster of baileys and the eastern cluster of baileys.
Visit NotesLike many earlier Sengoku Period yamajiro ruins, there are no structures left apart from some stone wall remnants, the remains of some baileys, earthen embankments, and dry moats. Once you get off at the Gakuenmae bus stop, it is around 20 minutes walk to the trailhead. This castle ruin is an easy hike, but some of the baileys are too overgrown with bamboo and other undergrowth to make them out clearly. When I visited in mid-March 2013, the main bailey and its adjacent baileys were fairly well kept with the grass and undergrowth trimmed. Also, it was impossible to get into the cluster of baileys around the central section and the southern baileys of the eastern section of the fortress complex because they have been fenced off to keep out wild deers and boars.
Profile, Notes and most photos by RaymondW.