Hojo Ujiteru was one of the powerful lords of the Hojo family. He built this castle to strengthen the Hojo position in the area and help defend Odawara Castle from attack. After Odawara Castle was surrounded by Hideyoshi forces, Hojo Ujiteru, Hojo Ujimasa and Hojo Ujinao left to fight in Odawara leaving Hachioji Castle nearly defenseless. Soon after, the castle came under attack from Hideyoshi forces on June 23, 1590 and fell in one day. Hideyoshi later went on to defeat the Hojo at Odawara and complete the unification of Japan. It is said that Hideyoshi feared Ujiteru for his intelligence and prowess and that is a large part of why he demanded Ujiteru to commit suicide (seppuku) after he was captured.
Hachioji-jo was a great sprawling castle across the mountaintop with barricades built in strategic places to stall would be attackers or spies. The picture above of the entrance to what was originally the lord's palace. It is at the base of the mountain while the castle was actually at the top. There are a few small pieces of stone walls around the mountain but that is all that remains. The palace stood at the top of the hill across the bridge and was heavily fortified.
There is a bus from Takao Station to the castle every hour on weekends and holidays. I recommend visiting when you can use this bus.
Even though there are no buildings, the walls, bridge and entrance to the lord's palace are enough to stimulate visitors to imagine what the original castle was like. This is one of the top castles to visit in the Tokyo area. Please be sure to walk out to the huge horikiri (大堀切) and pay attention to the former stone embankment along the way. Most people turn back at the Honmaru. The volunteer guides are also very knowledgeable. If you can speak even a little Japanese why not take a tour.
|English Name||Hachioji Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Takao Station (Chuo Line), bus for Reienmae (get off at Reienmae), 10 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||Free; the Visitor Center (Guidance Center) is open 830am-5pm. Closed 12/29-1/3|
|Time Required||200 mins|
|Coordinates||35° 39' 11", 139° 15' 11"|
|Year Visited||2002, 2013, 2015|
|Visits||January 26, 2002; June 29, 2013; May 2, 2015|