Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle
|English Name||Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle|
|Alternate Names||Ishigakiyama-jo, Ichiya-jo|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Hayakawa Sta (Tokaido Line), 45 min walk|
|Location||Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 14' 8", 139° 7' 40"|
|Visits||October 12, 2009|
Toyotomi Hideyoshi built this castle just outside of Odawara for his siege of Odawara Castle. You can actually see Odawara Castle quite well on your way up the mountain from the train station and you can also see it from the lookout of the Honmaru bailey at the top. Ichiya Castle actually means "one night castle" in Japanese. It was called this because Hideyoshi built the castle in secret and then one night they cut down all the trees around the top of the mountain that were used to screen the building of the castle. To the Hojo it looked like they built this extensive castle in just one night. It is said that this surprise helped contribute to the loss of resolve by the Hojo. Ichiya Castle is where Hideyoshi brought his concubine Yodo-dono and tea master Sen no Rikyu and entertained with tea ceremonies and performers. It actually took Hideyoshi 80 days to build the "one night castle" with 40,000 workers. Despite how rapidly the castle was built, it was well constructed with the intention of standing through a prolonged war. Hideyoshi employed the skilled stone wall artisans from Western Japan that also worked on Azuchi Castle and Osaka Castle. This castle was the first castle in the Kanto region to seriously make use of stone walls.
After the siege of Odawara Castle was over, Ichiya Castle was abandoned. The castle was built and decommissioned in a shorter time than it took any comparable size castle to even be built. This mountain, Ishigakiyama, literaly means "mountain of stone walls." It was originally called Mt. Kasagakeyama but the name eventually changed, reflecting the image of all the stone walls that were left behind. After 400 years of neglect, much of the walls have crumbled under natural forces, earthquakes and the theft of the stones, but you can still recognize the craftsmanship in some of the walls that still stand solidly today and easily imagine this mountainside being covered in stone walls when the castle was built.
There is a historical walking trail that starts right in front of the station and will take you straight up to the castle but most of the signs are in Japanese. It is pretty much an uphill walk for 45 mins from the station. Hayakawa is just one station past Odawara so it makes a good combination to visit both of these in the same day.