|English Name||Arikoyama Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Features||samurai homes, trenches, stone walls, castle town|
|Access||Toyooka Sta. (Line), bus to Izushi, 15 min walk from the last bus stop to the trail head|
|Visitor Information||open anytime. The trail starts from the Inari Bailey of Izushi Castle (after the red torii gates).|
|Time Required||200 mins|
|Location||Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 27' 20", 134° 52' 41"|
|Visits||September 26, 2013|
Yamana Suketoyo built this castle in 1574 after his Konosumiyama Castle was defeated by Hideyoshi. Arikoyama Castle is just Xkm south of Konosumi Castle. Another name Konosumi Castle is Konusumiyama (盗山城) which looks like "stolen child". He named Arikoyama Castle (有子山城) "mountain where the child is" as a play on words from Konusumiyama. Arikoyama Castle was again attacked by Hideyoshi in 1580 when Seketoyo's son Akihiro was lord of the castle. After it fell to Hideyoshi, Maeno Nagayasu and then Koide Yoshimasa becams lords of Arikoyama Castle. Afer the Battle of Sekigahara, Koide fortified the foot of the mountain as Izushi Castle and abandoned the mountaintop Arikoyama Castle. After hiking up the mountain to get to the castle I can see why he wouldn't want to use it if it was no longer necessary. The Edo Period saw a more stable government with no local conflicts so many provinces moved from mountaintop castles to lower castles and put their efforts into building up the surrounding castle towns.
I was really amazed at the extensive stone walls that remain here. It's second only to Takeda castle in Hyogo Pref. and should be one of the top mountaintop castles in Japan. Recently they cleaned it up by cutting back brush and trees so you can see the walls very nicely and even see them from the city. Maybe I would not have been so impressed a year ago. The trail to the top is fairly steep with poor footing in some places. Wear good shoes and plan enough time to get up and back. Carry a hiking stick if you have one. The way up may be fine but coming back back down it can be hard to get a stable footing. This castle also offers stunning views and is absolutely worth the hike.