|English Name||Mumo Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Access||Karasuyama Sta. (JR Karasuyama Line), 45 min bus|
|Visitor Information||Open anytime. The museum is open 9:30 to 5pm and is free. Closed on Mondays or the following day if Monday is a national holiday and Dec 29 - Jan 3.|
|Time Required||60 mins|
|Location||Nakagawa, Tochigi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 44' 25", 140° 10' 11"|
|Visits||April 16, 2015|
Mumo Castle was built around 1288-1299 by Mumo Yasumune, a son of Utsunomiya Kagetsuna, lord of Utsunomiya Castle. After moving to Mumo village, he took the surname Mumo. The castle we know today as Mumo Castle however, was probably founded sometime after this while the early Mumo lords had a more simple fortified palace on the site of the current high school and/or on the south side of the Shizu Shrine. The Mumo clan were sandwiched between the Satake and Nasu in their fighting and sided with the Satake from around 1560. In 1595, the Mumo were reassigned and a retainer of the Satake, Ohta Kazusuke became the new lord of Mumo Castle. Satake Yohinobu earned the ire of Tokugawa Ieyasu by not sending troops to the Battle of Sekigahara, (due to a secret alliance with Ishida Mitsunari) and was reassigned to the Dewa province (Akita Pref.). The Ohta went with them and Mumo Castle was abandoned.
The original castle covered two small mountains with the family temple in the valley between them. Residential areas surround the base of the mountains. I had higher expectations for this site. The descriptions in my books and materials looked like the ruins were more extensive. Also, I could not find a trail up into the mountain on the right side of the temple. People at both the museum and the temple said it's off limits and you can't get inside.
There is a small local history museum near the trail to the castle ruins. Here you'll find the model of the castle. Unfortunately there is no pamphlet or even a good map for the castle ruins. Next to this local museum is a beautiful looking Hiroshige Ukiyo-e museum, but it was closed this day for changing exhibits. It seems wasteful that they've built such a great looking Ukiyo-e museum but give so little effort to making Mumo Castle, which is a Prefecturally Designated Historic Site, more accessible