|English Name||Kamei Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Edo Period
|Access||Kuba Sta. (JR Sanyo Line) 30 min walk or 10 min bus|
|Visitor Information||Free and open castle park|
|Location||Otake, Hiroshima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 14' 26", 132° 12' 59"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
HistoryFukushima Masanori was awarded Aki and Bingo (present day Hiroshima Prefecture), former regions ruled by the Mori Clan, after the Battle of Sekigahara. Kikkawa Hiroie built Iwakuni Castle in Suou (present day eastern Yamaguchi Prefecture) in 1601, so Fukushima was ordered by Tokugawa Ieyasu to construct a castle nearby to defend Aki (present day western Hiroshima Prefecture) against possible Mori incursions. It was one of the satellite castles built to protect Hiroshima Castle. Other ones were constructed in Miyoshi, Tojo, Mihara, Kannabe, and Tomo. Construction of Kamei Castle in Ogata began in 1603 under Fukushima’s nephew, Fukushima Hoki. He died a year before it was completed in 1608. Yamada Koemon and Mori Sasuke became the lords of the castle after its completion. Kamei Castle acted as defensive gateway into Aki from Suou, and it also protected and defended the sea lanes between the coast and Itsukushima (island where present day Miyajima Shrine is located).
This castle had eleven baileys: Honmaru, Ninomaru, Sannoumaru, Arinomaru, Nashinomaru, Matsunomaru, Nagoyamaru, Junomaru, Tsumenomaru, Kagaminomaru, and Myokenmaru. The first eight baileys listed were spread out in a line on a small hill, 88m above sea-level at its highest point. This fortress also had a three-storey castle keep and a port in the castle town at the base of the castle. The castle had a short military life and was decommissioned in 1611 after Tokugawa realized that the Mori Clan posed no real military threat. It was called Kamei Castle because of the shape of the terrain that the castle was built on. It was said to look like a turtle lying on its stomach.
Take the JR Train to Kuba Station (玖波駅) and then walk 30 minutes mainly along Route 2. Kamei Castle Ruin is in Kamei Park (亀居公園). This castle ruin could be better signposted and maintained. It was terribly overgrown in mid-summer when I visited.