|English Name||Ogura Castle|
|Year Founded||late 1400s|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Musashi Ranzan Sta. (Tobu Tojo Line) or Myokaku Sta. (Yasaka Line); walk 1 hr|
|Location||Tokigawa, Saitama Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 1' 58", 139° 17' 49"|
|Visits||November 11, 2010|
Some of the history of this castle is unclear. That could be the reason why most of my materials (including signs at the site) talk about the castle's structure more than its history. It was probably first founded when Ougigayatsu Uesugi controlled the area by his vassals the Ueda. When the Ueda moved to Matsuyama Castle, the Hojo stationed their vassal Tohyama at Ogura Castle. The Tohyama clan were close retainers of the Hojo and also ruled over Edo Castle for them. Ogura Castle became an important part of the Hojo's defensive plan extended towards the Chichibu area. Matsuyama Castle, Aotori Castle, Sugaya Castle, Ogura Castle, Aoyama Castle, and Koshigoe Castle make a straight line of defenses between the territories. Once this was thought to have been designed by the Hojo to mark out the edge of their territory but later excavations have shown that these castles were around since the Uesugi. The Hojo just took advantage of the them to fortify their network of castles.
Ogura Castle is a surprisingly well-fortified castle. It had significant stone walls when very few castles in this area had much stonework at all. It also sprawled across all three mountain ridges that join at this point with steep slopes on all sides and a river flowing along one side. It was a useful location to to watch the traffic on the Tokigawa River and continued the line of defenses from Sugaya Castle, but was unnecessarily well-fortified in the middle of the Hojo's defensive line and with Hachigata Castle just a bit farther away and the main front line fortification for the Hojo. One theory is that Ogura Castle was originally the front line defense for Ougigayatsu Uesugi and the Hojo just took advantage of it's fortifications for themselves despite the it's location. It's also odd that this mountain was chosen when it is actually much smaller than the surrounding ones.
There are buses from each of the stations mentioned above that go near the castle, but they are few and far between and it is still about 1.5km from the nearest bus stop. At Daifukuji Temple there is a cemetary on it's right side. From the left side of the cemetary there is a very narrow path that looks like it's not even a path, that goes up behind the cemetery. It actually goes almost straight up the mountain to the castle ruins. From the top of the castle it looks like there might be other paths up from different places around the mountain but without any other maps or information this was the best I could find. See the temple and map pictures for more details.