Ogaki Castle

From Jcastle.info



The current main keep was built in 1595 by Ito Sukemori. Because of its proximity to three major rivers (Kiso, Nagara and Ibi rivers), Hideyoshi considered it a vital castle to control. In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Ishida Mitsunari and Utaki Hideie planned to fight the Tokugawa forces here, but Tokugawa managed to draw them out to the field of Sekigahara where they met their defeat. Meanwhile, other forces loyal to Tokugawa stormed the castle.

After the Battle of Sekigahara several different Tokugawa daimyo ruled over Ogaki-jo until the Toda Ujiteru came to power in 1635. The Toda continued to rule for 11 generations.

Visit Notes

Ogaki-jo was once a very large castle with a beautiful main keep. In 1936 the main keep was designated a National Treasure, but it unfortunately burned down during WWII. The main keep was reconstructed in 1959 but all that remains of the once great castle is the reconstructed main keep in a small park.

The main keep of Ogaki-jo is very interesting because it is very rare for a main keep in Japan to be built with 4 levels. In Japan, the character for the number "4" ( yon ) can also be read shi which means "death." Therefore, "4 levels" could be read " shisoo which means "a look someone has shortly before death." That would be a very bad sign for any castle. They get around this by saying that the first roof you see on the bottom is actually just a "canopy" in the middle of the first level so it is a 3 level castle with a lower canopy.


Castle Profile
English Name Ogaki Castle
Japanese Name 大垣城
Founder Miyakawa Yasusada
Year Founded 1535
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Next 100 Castles, Local Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 4 levels, 4 stories
Year Reconstructed 1959 (concrete)
Features main keep, gates, turrets, water moats, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Ogaki Station, 7 minute walk
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/39/
Location Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 21' 43.09" N, 136° 36' 57.53" E
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Year Visited 1996
Visits April 1996
Added to Jcastle 1999

(15 votes)
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23 months ago
Score 1++
One can find many pictures of Ōgakijō as it was originally built by Ichiyanagi Naosue under instructions from Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1588. Unfortunately, the original wooden structure, known for its four tiers of thickly plastered white walls, was destroyed by Allied aerial bombardment in 1945. Today a concrete reconstruction dating to 1959 stands in its place. The windows on the top floor were designed for observation in the 1959 reconstruction, but they were much too large to be historically accurate. In 2011 the castle had a make-over to look more like the original structure. Now the windows are smaller but it is more authentic in its outer appearance. It says on the pamphlet 『水と城の大垣』”Ōgaki of Castle and Water”. Ōgakijō’s moats were very extensive and the outer moat still encloses the city today. The poet Matsuo Bashō travelled down the moat to the Suimon River and the city tourist board encourages travellers to do the same now. The Suimon however is not a wide river and it was difficult to transport large construction materials to the site, so the timber and rocks employed in Ōgakijō’s construction were small and light. It was possible for me to spy Gifujō on Mt. Kinka from Ōgakijō castle tower. It looked like a white blip atop the mountain. How would it feel to have Nobunaga looking down on you from there I wonder!

Kiddus i2003Gunshi

46 months ago
Score 0++
The visit to the castle was made all the more pleasant because it was the day Ogaki city held it's matsuri and the streets were lined with stalls and the castle was just one place where people congregated.


51 months ago
Score 0++
You can also see Gifu Castle from this castle. My eyes are decent enough and you can make out a white blip on top of distant Mount Kinka from Ogaki Castle's keep.


106 months ago
Score 0++
Eric,I think it is definitely worth having a link to the official castle pages. BTW, went to Ogaki Castle again this week. Finally manage to make it inside to see the castle museum. It is definitely worth the 100yen admission. On the first floor, there are some weapons on display and some of the replicas you can actually play around with. There are several suits of armour on display. On the 2nd floor, there are some paintings of the lords of the castle. Scattered around the museum are video displays about the Battle of Sekigahara as well as the history of Ogaki Castle. If you have some time, do go and follow the canals which used to ring the much bigger original Ogaki Castle. Sections of it have been planted with cherry trees. I'm kicking myself for not going out further and checking them out when I was at Ogaki Castle during the cherry blossom period earlier in the year.


108 months ago
Score 0++
Thanks Raymond. I updated the link. Do you think it is worth having a link to the castle homepages? They often change making them difficult to maintain, but if people keep telling me when the links don't work I'll update them.


109 months ago
Score 0++
The cherry blossoms around Ogaki Castle are in full bloom this week. All the renovations are done, so the castle looks brand new on the outside. For those visiting on a weekday, this place is closed on Tuesdays. BTW, the official Ogaki City webpage for Ogaki Castle in Japanese is http://www.c...0000577.html


115 months ago
Score 0++
Today i made a triple. Ogaki, Hikone and Nagahamacastles. I knew, using this site, that this castle was under repair. Still i went there because it was on my way to Hikone. The tenshu is completely under the scaffolds. I won7t give stars for now, but i think i'll give only 2, because the site and the artifacts on show aren't pleasing.