|English Name||Ashigara Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Access||Ashigara Sta. (Gotemba Line), 120 min hike|
|Location||Oyama, Shizuoka Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 19' 15", 139° 0' 43"|
|Visits||April 3, 2010|
Ashigara Castle sits atop Mt. Ashigara where it controls traffic along the Ashigara road, a vital link between Sagami and Suruga. At one time the Tokaido Road also ran through here.
The castle was built around 1536 by Hojo Ujitsuna and renovated by Hojo Ujiyasu in 1555. Ashigara Castle served as one of the important defenses against Takeda Shingen's incursions into the area. Much of the castle was destroyed in battles with Takeda in 1568, but due to its strategic importance, the castle was rebuilt and expanded. In 1590, Hojo Ujitada, then lord of the castle, fled to Odawara after he heard that Yamanaka Castle had fallen. Ashigara Castle soon fell to ii Naomasa and was afterwards abandoned.
Ashigara Castle is a nice 2 hour walk/hike from Ashigara Station. You can also take a bus from Oyama station but busses are few and far between. From the castle you should have some awesome views of Mt. Fuji but I was stuck with cloudy weather all day despite a perfectly clear weather forecast. It's still a nice mountaintop castle ruin to explore. There are five well definedbaileys and you can get a good feel for how the castle was constructed on top of the mountain. Unfortunately, there are only a few poor signs in Japanese and one had completely fallen over. The castle also had some stonework walls once upon a time but it doesn't look like there are any remnants left.