Oka Castle

From Jcastle.info
Castle Properties
English Name Oka Castle
Japanese Name 岡城
Alternate Names Takeda-jo, Gagyu-jo
Founder Ogata Koreyoshi
Year Founded 1185
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Top 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period


Features gates, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Bungo Taketa Sta. (Houhi Line); taxi
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www2.city.taketa.oita.jp/kanko/konomichi/index.html
Location Taketa, Oita Prefecture
Coordinates 32° 58' 9", 131° 24' 29"
Admin Visits
Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Visits
Added 2006
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Oka1.jpg


History

Oka Castle has a very long history. It was originally founded for Minamoto no Yoshitsune in 1185. Shiga Sadatomo entered the castle in 1332 and initiated many repairs and improvements. Shiga's descendents ruled Oka Castle until 1586. Nakagawa Hideshige took over the castle in 1594 and began more improvements and expansion of the castle, including building a main keep and palace. The main keep was destroyed in an earthquake during the Edo Period. The Nakagawa ruled until the Meiji Restoration when all the buildings were dismantled leaving only some of the stone walls we see today.

Visit Notes

not personally visited, pictures donated by Raffi. This is one of the castles I most want to see.



Gallery



3.67
(3 votes)
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RaymondWHatamoto

40 months ago
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This is a fabulous mountaintop castle ruin to visit. Personally I rate this very highly, second only to Bitchu-Matsuyama Castle, which has an extant castle keep. Out of the many yamajiros (mountaintop castles) that I have visited so far, Oka Castle for me, surpasses almost all of them including highly rated ones like Takatori Castle (Nara) and Iwamura Castle (Gifu). Oka Castle Ruin is very impressive for a number of reasons. It is a massive castle on the same scale as Kannonji Castle (Shiga), Niitakayama Castle (Hiroshima), and Okishio Castle (Hyogo, not listed on JCastle yet.) It has way more ishigaki (stone walls) than the “Castle in the Clouds: Takeda Castle” and probably about the same amount of ishigaki if not more than Takatori Castle. If they chop down all the trees, the visible ishigaki of Oka Castle, perched on a mountain 352 metres above sea level (actual height differential is around 100 metres from the valley floor), would stretch for almost a kilometre in roughly a J-shape. As it is, there is a team of gardeners who regularly weed-whacks the site, so that most of this massive castle ruin is accessible to castle fans unlike other yamajiros such as Takatori Castle and Kannonji Castle, where many of the sprawling baileys and stone walls are buried under dense undergrowth and trees. Despite the efforts of the gardeners, the sides of some of the baileys (the stone wall parts) are still covered by a verdant carpet of ferns and weeds. I guess the castle ruin is just so big that it is impossible to keep it completely free of the rampant summer growth. Still it is much better maintained than similar-sized yamajiros that I have been to. Size and accessibility to most of the baileys alone don’t account for the wow factor of this castle ruin. It has many features that appeal to castle fans. Around a dozen different stone wall construction styles can be found at Oka Castle. In addition, there are several types of gate ruins including an Uzimon, kokuins (carved insignias), wells, an extensive drainage system, two massive “display stones” each measuring nearly 2m x 2m at the gate ruin to Sannomaru (Third Bailey) plus other smaller “display stones” elsewhere, very steep walls (particularly around the Ninomaru and Sannomaru), panoramic views including Mt. Aso in the distance on a clear day (unfortunately, it was somewhat hazy when I visited with my wife), and reasonably good signposting (in Japanese only). One final point in its favour is that there are relatively few tourists. In the four hours that we were on site, we came across probably around 50 to 60 people, and that was during the height of the Obon holiday. Combining all these factors with the detailed coloured map that you get with the 300yen entrance fee, and the fact that this castle ruin was the inspiration for Taki Rentaro’s famous composition, make this a great yamajiro to visit. BTW, Taki Rentaro’s statue is located in the Ninomaru (Second Bailey), not far from the site of where the Tsukimi Yagura used to be. The only downside to Oka Castle is that if you are using public transport to get there, express trains to JR Bungo-Takeda (from either Kumamoto or Oita) are quite limited with only several trains a day. The castle ruin is only a 20 minute walk from the station. The staff at the ticket booth to the castle site was very helpful, and if you ask, they do have a one-page A4 explanation of the castle in English. Kudos to the people managing Oka Castle for making it such a wonderful and accessible castle ruin to visit.
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RonSAshigaru

41 months ago
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There is a statue to Rentaro Taki in the ruins.
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Anonymous user #1

106 months ago
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This ruin is expecially good for hanami in the spring as there are many cherry trees there.
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Anonymous user #1

108 months ago
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This castle was reputedly the inspiration for Taki Rentaro's hauntingly beautiful music for 'Kojonotsuki', although the actual lyrics are much older and are said to refer to Aizu Wakamatsujo. One day, I want to sit up on Okajo's ruined wall under a full moon and listen to that music.
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Anonymous user #1

112 months ago
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cool pix... love the information.