Kizu Hidekiyo, the lord of Kizu, first built a castle at Kaseyama in 1188 as one of the outlying castles to protect Kofukuji. During 1562-68, Matsunaga Hisahide, a former retainer of the Miyoshi Clan, restored and improved Kaseyama Castle, so it could act as a defensive bulwark against attacks from Yamashiro (present day Southern Kyoto Prefecture) into Yamato (present day Nara Prefecture). Matsunaga Hisahide gained notoriety for killing his lord’s family and the 13th Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru, as well as burning the big Buddha in Nara. He was also the lord of Tamonyama Castle, Shigisan Castle, and Ryuosan Castle in Northern Yamato. At that time, Matsunaga Hisahide was battling the Miyoshi brothers, so he fortified and used Kaseyama Castle to protect the area from Miyoshi Masayasu, who had built a castle in nearby Kizu. Kaseyama Castle has three main baileys in a line sitting on top of Mt. Kase. The main baileys are linked to each other by smaller terraced baileys and are protected by various kinds of earthworks and moats such as V-shaped and U-shaped moats as well as vertical moats running down the sides of the hill. The bulk of the fortifications are on the southern and western sides as that is where Matsunaga had considered the most likely avenues of attack by Miyoshi forces from Kizu.
This may not be the biggest yamashiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in the Kansai Region, but it is one with many typical defensive features found in a late Sengoku Period yamashiro. To get to Kaseyama Castle take the local mini-bus from JR Kizu Station to Kaseyama, the last stop. Once you get off, cross the road and turn right at the lights. Go down that little country road until you come to a sign for Sainenji and Kaseyama Castle Ruin. If you want to do the castle ruin quickly, you can get round to all the main parts in 1.5 hours once you are at the trailhead. If you want to see everything listed on the detailed black and white map (Japanese only) that you can get from a little box at Sainenji, then you should factor in around 2.5 hours, depending on how often you stop for photos.
|English Name||Kaseyama Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Top 100 Mountaintop Castles|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Kizu Sta. (Nara Line); bus, 20 min. walk|
|Time Required||around 2 hours|
|Coordinates||34° 44' 47", 135° 50' 37"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|