|English Name||Ichinomiya Castle|
|Founder||Ichinomiya (Ogasawara) Nagamune|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Tokushima Sta. (Kotoku Line, Mugi Line); Bus and walk|
|Visitor Information||free, hiking trail, see details under notes|
|Time Required||2.5 hours|
|Location||Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 2' 3", 134° 27' 47"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
Ichinomiya Castle was a large mountaintop fortress with multiple baileys situated in an area of strategic importance, which was bordered in front by the Akui River and in the rear by protective mountains. The remains of the Honmaru (Main Bailey) stone walls can clearly be seen. The Honmaru is situated at 144m above sea level. Nearby are the remnants of surrounding baileys (Myojinmaru, Saizomaru, Mizunotemaru, Oguramaru, and Shiinomaru) and a water reservoir. Since 1338, generations of the Ichinomiya family had been the ruling lord of the castle, but in 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi conquered Shikoku, and made Hachisuka Iemasa the new lord of the castle. Soon afterwards, Iemasa built Tokushima Castle and relocated there. In 1615, Ichinomiya Castle was dismantled under the one castle one feudal domain edict. There were two battles fought over Ichinomiya Castle, the first one was in 1581 between Ichinomiya Narisuke and Sogo Masayasu. Narisuke with support from Chosokabe Motochika beat Masayasu. In the second battle in 1585, Hashiba Hidenaga with 50,000 troops, which was part of the Toyotomi Hideyoshi invasion force of Shikoku, besieged the castle. They overwhelmed the defending 10,000 Ichinomiya troops in just 20 days by attacking the castle from three sides (north, east, and west) and cutting off its water supply.
Access is by bus from Tokushima Station. You get off near Ichinomiya Shrine and Dainichi Temple (one of the Shikoku 88 Temples.) There is a sign at the bus stop indicating the direction to Ichinomiya Castle Ruin with a very detailed map of the area and bilingual (English / Japanese) explanation of Ichinomiya Castle. It takes around 30 minutes from the trailhead to get to the honmaru. There are plenty of stone wall remains at the honmaru as well as some overgrown ones on some of the lower baileys. Some of the baileys and moats are clearly signposted. While this castle ruin does not have as many cherry trees as Tokushima Castle, it does have a few strategically placed cherry trees and is quite pretty in early spring. There were very few castle visitors (encountered less than four people over 2.5 hours) and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom when I went there with my wife on a Sunday in early April. For me, this is a wonderful castle ruin worth two stars because it has few visitors, is well signposted, has a fabulous view from the honmaru, and there are enough defensive features (moats, baileys, stone walls, and gate ruin) to keep a castle fan entertained.