Oguchijō’s history is linked to the Oda Clan, built by Oda Hirochika in 1459. In 1469 Hirochika moved his main base of operations to Kinoshitajō. Thereafter Oguchijō served as a branch castle of Inuyamajō. In 1551 Oda Nobuhide died and although Oda Nobunaga was his rightful heir his poor standing within the clan at that time prompted a rebellion against him. By 1559 Oda had unified Owari Province under his rule however. It was during this civil war that Oguchijō was besieged by Nobunaga’s forces and destroyed. It was thereafter left as ruins. In 1994 archaeological investigations were carried out at the site. In 1999 the current structures we see today were built and the site was transformed into a small park with museum.
Oguchijō is a Sengoku Period flatland castle. It had double moats forming a square and rammed earth embankments. Portions of the fortification have been restored, including walls, dry moats, a bridge, a gate and a watch tower. There is also a small museum building, which looks like it may represent a shuden (Lord’s Hall) from without. Remains include the ramparts themselves and a small tumulus of piled earth which may have supported a turret. This site is quite remarkable in that it possesses a tall watchtower (miyagura). The layout of the castle is known from historical schematics, and the watchtower is very much like something we might expect to see at a Sengoku Period site. However, things get a bit curious from here. The miyagura stands on a platform of ishigaki (piled stones) which is clearly a modern addition to the site. On the stone-clad ramparts a stucco-earthen wall has been erected with yasama (loop holes). The site is accessed via a Kōraimon type gate and traditional bridge. So this site now seems to be combination of a Sengoku Period castle and an Edo Period castle, even though the castle only existed throughout the Sengoku Period. The gaps between the Miyagura and the dobei wall are particularly jarring, but otherwise I appreciated the spectacle. I also noticed that the openings built into the wooden panels coating the stairwell which ascends the watchtower face in-ward toward the castle. I’m not sure of the utility of this: one would expect the shutters to face-outward toward any potential attacker. Views from the top of the watchtower are impressive. Oguchijō is located roughly between Komakijō, Iwakurajō and Inuyamajō. I was able to see Komakijō from here as an odd protrusion on a distant hilltop. Zooming in with my camera revealed the vaguely yagura-shaped dot more clearly, but a clear view was obstructed by a pylon. If I had realised how close I was to other sites, I would’ve looked for other castles as well; maybe Inuyamajō can also be spied from the tower, since it’s closest. The remains of a sunken pit furnace can be found at Oguchijō, indicating that is used to possess a blacksmith.
|English Name||Oguchi Castle|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Miyagura, Moats, Walls, Ishigaki, Dorui, Mock Shuden|
|Features||gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, trenches, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Nearest station is Kashiwamori Station on the Meitetsu Inuyama Line|
|Visitor Information||Free; 9:00 - 16:30; closed mondays and tuesdays and at year's end; if tuesday is a national holiday it will be open and the subsequent wednesday will be closed|
|Time Required||40 minutes|
|Location||Ōguchi, Aichi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 20' 28.03" N, 136° 54' 58.07" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2019|