Niitakayama Castle

From Jcastle.info
Castle Properties
English Name Niitakayama Castle
Japanese Name 新高山城
Alternate Names Otakayama-jo
Founder Kobayakawa Takakage
Year Founded 1552
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period


Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Hongo Sta.(San'yo Line), 25 min walk
Visitor Information mountain hiking trails open any time.
Time Required 180 mins
Website http://www.mihara-kankou.com/shiseki/hongo shintakayamajoseki.html
Location Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 25' 11", 132° 58' 33"
Admin Visits
Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Visits
Added 2014
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Niitaka8.jpg


History

Prior to 1552 there was a small fort built here, but it was considered to be part of Takayama Castle’s defenses. Kobayakawa Takakage, Mori Motonari’s third son, was adopted by the Numata faction of the Kobayakawa Clan. He reunited the two factions of the split Kobayakawa Clan (Numata and Takehara factions) by marrying a daughter of the Takehara faction. In 1552, Takakage decided to build and relocate to a new mountaintop castle directly opposite his current castle, Takayama Castle, on the other side of the Numata River. The new castle, Niitakayama Castle, is located on a 197m mountain with very steep cliffs on its eastern and southeastern sides. It is an extensive castle complex, stretching 400 metres from east to west and 500 metres north to south.

With the need to control the waterways of the Japan Inland Sea, a new castle, Mihara Castle was built in 1567 at the mouth of the Numata River. Gradually, Mihara Castle superseded Niitakayama Castle as Kobayakawa’s main castle in the area as their naval strength grew. Takakage took part in the Hideyoshi’s First Korean Invasion and was largely responsible for a major Japanese victory in the Battle of Pyokje in 1593. Afterwards, he retired from active service and returned to Mihara Castle. With no sons, Takakage adopted Hideyoshi’s nephew, Hideaki. Kobayakawa Hideaki went on to play a major role in the Battle of Sekigahara by switching sides in the middle of this epic battle. Niitakayama Castle was eventually decommissioned in 1596, the year before Takakage’s death. Some of the stones and other building materials were taken from Niitakayama Castle and used in the construction of Mihara Castle.

Visit Notes

It takes around 25 minutes walk from JR Hongo Station to get to the trailhead. This castle ruin is massive, on a similar scale to a castle site like Rokkaku’s Kannoniji Castle Ruin in Shiga. My wife and I spent over 3 hours on site, and we did not get to all the 60 baileys scattered over this mountain because the sun was starting to set, so it was time to get off the mountain. A castle fan can easily spend half a day at this castle ruin checking out all the baileys, stone wall ruins, wells, gate ruins, and earthworks. The mountain looks steep as you approach it, but the trail up and down is fairly easy.

Profile and photos by JCastle user RaymondW



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RaymondWHatamoto

46 months ago
Score 0++
This was my 初登城 (first castle visit) in 2014. This castle ruin is not on the Top 100 castle list, but it is a fabulous mountaintop castle to visit. On some Japanese castle websites, it has been included in a Top 100 Castle Ruin List for castles not already included in the Top 100 Castle list. This is quite a significant castle in Japanese history as it was the home castle of Kobayakawa Takakage, who played a significant role in his father’s (Mori Motonari) Battle of Miyajima in 1555 and the Battle of Pyokje in 1593 on the Korean Peninsular. The castle ruin is reasonably well signposted. There is an original gate, but it has been moved to Soukou Temple in Mihara. Unfortunately, it was dark already by the time the train pulled up at Mihara Station, so I guess I will have to revisit this castle site to get in all the 60 baileys and suss out the relocated Otemon Gate at Soukou Temple.