|English Name||Kaminoyama Castle|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||3 levels, 4 stories|
|Year Reconstructed||1982 (concrete)|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, samurai homes, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Kaminoyama Onsen Station (Oou Honsen), 15 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||open 9am-4:45pm; closed 12/29-12/31; check the website for other closed days. 410 yen admission|
|Time Required||30 mins; 60 mins with samurai homes|
|Location||Kaminoyama, Yamagata Prefecture|
|Coordinates||38° 9' 28", 140° 16' 33"|
|Year Visited||1997, 2017|
|Visits||October 1997; November 2, 2017|
Kaminoyama Castle is built on a critical highway between Yonezawa and Yamagata. It was a focal point of the skirmishes between the Date in Yonezawa and Mogami of Yamagata. In the Edo Period the Toki clan was stationed here and the castle was well developed. In 1692 when the Toki clan we reassigned the castle was considered to be too extravagant for such a small fiefdom so the castle was dismantled. After the Toki, the Kanamori and then a Matsudaira clan becomes lords of Kaminoyama but the castle was never rebuilt despite many petitions to the bakufu.
The mock main keep is nothing like the main keep that would have stood here and it's even in the wrong place. The main reason to visit this castle is to see the 4 samurai homes behind it. The museum is a nice local history museum and the top offers nice views of the valley but it is light on castle information. You could skip it if you don't have time.
Kaminoyama is also conveniently located between Yamagata and Yonezawa and has some hot springs. I used this as my base for 2 days of castle exploring between Yamagata and Yonezawa. The ruins of the mountaintop castle, Takadate Castle, can also be found on the mountain behind Kaminoyama Castle but I did not have time to visit on this trip.