|English Name||Oda Castle|
|Year Founded||late 1100's|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||National Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Features||water moats, trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Tsuchiura Sta, 30 min bus, 10 min walk|
|Visitor Information||Park, open any time. Museum open 9-4:30. Closed Mondays (except national holidays), the day after a holiday and 12/28-1/4|
|Time Required||60 mins|
|Location||Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 9' 3", 140° 6' 40"|
|Visits||May 5, 2016|
Oda Castle started as a fortified home of the Oda Clan who were the provincial lords during the Kamakura Period. By the 1300's it became one of the major castles in the Kanto region. In 1495, the 13th head of the Oda clan, Oda Harutaka, was killed by his younger brother Akiie who became the new (14th) lord of the castle. Akiie increased the Oda influence and power in the region and fought with Edo, Daijo, and Yuki clans. During the reign of the 15th lord, Ujiharu, the Hojo had expanded their territory to encroach on the Hitachi (Ibaraki) lands. At first, Ujihara defied the Hojo but eventually joined with them in 1562. in 1556, Oda Castle fell to the Yuki with support from the Hojo. In 1564, after aligning with the Hojo, Oda Castle was taken by the combined Uesugi and Satake forces. Each time, Ujihara retreated to Tsuchiura Castle from which he launched attacks to retake Oda Castle. In 1569, Ujiharu again lost the castle to Satake and Makabe forces but was not able to retake it. Oda Castle remained in Satake hands until they were sent to Akita in 1602 and the castle was abandoned. Oda Ujihara had moved to Echizen (Fukui Pref) with the Yuki in the previous year (1601) and so they were never able to retake the castle again. Oda Castle underwent large scale renovations several times since it was founded in the Kamakura Period, the latest of which was in the mid 1500s around the time of the heaviest unrest when the castle was repeatedly attacked.
This site was reopened in late April 2016 after reconstructing much of the castle and building a very nice little museum. Originally a train track ran right through the middle of the castle but the train line was abolished and most of the track was turned into a bicycling course starting from Tsuchiura Station. Some day I would love to ride the bike trail as well. It looks very nice. If you ride the <a href=""http://www.pref.ibaraki.jp/doboku/urado/doni/documents/map11.pdf>full 30km course</a> you can also visit 3 castles along the way!