In the early days, Gion Castle was actually a satellite fortification of Washi Castle, but during the Nanbokucho Period (1336-1392), the Oyama moved their center to Gion Castle. In 1576 Oyama Hidetsuna capitulated to the Hojo who took over the castle. The Hojo renovated and expanded the castle making it a forward operating base for incursions into the northern Kanto region. Since the Oyama were allied with Hojo, their lands were confiscated after the Siege of Odawara and the fall of the Hojo. The Oyama line ended and the castle was put in the hands of Yuki Hideyasu. After the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa's ally, Honda Masazumi, became the new lord of the castle. Gion Castle was abandoned when Honda moved to Utsunomiya Castle in 1619.
At first this looks a lot like Sano Castle but the ruins are much more extensive and the original castle was even larger. The trenches and embankments out the north side of the castle are impressive. The umadashi bailey and entrance before the Honmaru is also particularly interesting and well preserved. The umadashi bailey itself is quite large and the trenches deep. You might not recognize it as an umadashi without the sign. Combined with Washi Castle and Nakakuki Castle these sites, called the Oyama Castle Ruins, are designated as National Historic Sites.
|English Name||Gion Castle|
|Year Founded||late Heian Period / early Kamakura Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Oyama Sta. (JR Tohoku Line) 12 min walk|
|Visitor Information||park, open any time|
|Time Required||30 mins|
|Location||Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 19' 11.32" N, 139° 48' 0.18" E|
|Visits||April 30, 2018|
|Added to Jcastle||2018|