Okusawa Castle

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Okusawa2.jpg

History

The origins of the castle are unknown but during the mid 1500's it was the held by the Ohira, as a satellite fortification for the Kira clan in nearby Setagaya Castle. In 1590 during the siege of Odawara, the Kira fled to Chiba and Ohira fled to Todoroki Castle. Okusawa Castle was abandoned at this time. The Kuhonbutsu Joshinji Temple was founded in 1678 and it preserved, or made use of, the embankments from the former castle so they can still be seen today.

Visit Notes

Incredible fall colors here. I recommend visiting during that season at the end of November or early December. Most of the embankments are in areas that you are not technically supposed to enter.

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Castle Profile
English Name Okusawa Castle
Japanese Name 奥沢城
Founder Ohira Clan
Year Founded 1300's
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features
Visitor Information
Access Jiyugaoka Sta (Tokyu Toyoko Line), 13 min walk; Kuhonbutsu Sta (Oimachi Line), 5 min walk
Visitor Information Joshinji Temple
Time Required 20 mins
Website http://www.city.setagaya.lg.jp/kurashi/106/152/d00128556.html
Location Tokyo, Tokyo
Coordinates 35° 36' 29.56" N, 139° 39' 40.61" E
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Admin
Year Visited 2017
Visits December 8, 2017
Added to Jcastle 2018


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ARTShogun

3 months ago
Score 0++

Like several former castle sites in the Tōkyō area, Okusawajō is now the site of a temple, Jōshinji, popularly known as Kuhonbutsu. The old earth-piled ramparts of Okusawajō now partially surround the temple, forming a broken box-shape. The main entrance to the temple was likely that of the castle, and now the temple's main gate, Shiunrō (it is a Niōmon in function) is there, adjacent to the termination of the embankments on the left (when entering); to the right are now temple structures. This is the eastern portion of the ruins. The dorui in the south is mostly extant, broken by a side entrance to the temple at one point. A portion of the northern embankment (northeast) also remains, covered in trees. The west embankment is unbroken and along with the northwestern corner segment of the ramparts is now part of the temple's necropolis - covered in graves. The temple's cemetery then extends beyond the dorui to the north. This was not the first time I've seen dorui turned into a cemetery ringing a temple.

For me at least, the temple itself proved more interesting than the castle ruin. Jōshinji has a full garan (compliment of structures forming an ideal temple layout) which includes three halls alligned beside each other. These originally had thatched roofing but this was replaced by copper plating in the 1960s. It's kind of obvious when looking at them. I could picture them very easily in the Edo Period with their thatching, but was surprised at how late they were "modernised". It's a shame they were because otherwise the temple might be better known, given the rarity of thatched roof structures in Tōkyō proper; as it is it seems like Jōshinji is often overlooked, despite being a large temple complex close to central Tōkyō. When I came a troupe of kindergarten children were visiting the temple. The statue of the King of Hell in the Enmadō speaks to you in a booming voice when you toss money into the offertory box. The children timidly approached the hall, only to, upon hearing Enma, come toddling back out as fast as their stubby legs could carry them. One child was crying, but a teacher comforted him by telling them that Enma wasn't as scary as so-and-so sensei!

Structures at the temple include: Shiunrō / the Niōmon (1793), Shōrō (Belfry) (1703), Hondō (Main Hall) (1698), Sanbutsudō (Hall of Three Buddhas) (1698), Kaisandō (Founder's Hall), Enmadō, Kuri (kitchen) and others. The layout surrounded by the old castle walls is most pleasing.