Sasayama Castle

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Sasayama1.jpg

History

From the top of Mt. Takashiro to the Southeast of Sasayama Castle the Hatano ruled over the Tanba area from Yagami Castle. Yagami Castle fell to attacks by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579. In 1608 Tokugawa Ieyasu's son Matsudaira Yasushige became lord of Yagami Castle. The following year, Ieyasu initiated the construction of Sasayama Castle while dismantling Yagami Castle as part of his plan to better control Osaka Castle, the Toyotomi and the other lords of Western Japan. The castle was designed by Todo Takatora and completed in only six months. It is famous for having an intact gate type called umadashi.

Eventually, all the structures of this castle were destroyed and in 1944 the Oshoin Palace was burned in a fire. The palace was reconstructed from original pictures and also by making reference to the Ninomaru Palace at Nijo Castle. You can see many of these original pictures and the reconstruction progress on the website.Sasayama sits in a basin surrounded by mountains on all sides. When visiting this location it is easy to get caught up in the castle and castle town in such an isolated atmosphere of mountains. Even though there are almost no structures reamining of the castle today one can easily imagine what it was like surrounded by the atmosphere of this castle and castle town. There is also a museum and samurai home to tell the story of samurai in this area.

This area is famous for a kind of black bean and wild boar meat. These Tanba area beans are large and sweet with an excellent flavor. They also have bread among many other dishes made from these beans. There are few tourists during the off season though there tend to be many for Cherry Blossoms in the spring and the Summer Festival.

Visit Notes

All photos and text donated by Kenji Yamamoto


Gallery



Castle Profile
English Name Sasayama Castle
Japanese Name 篠山城
Alternate Names Kirigajo
Founder Tokugawa Ieyasu
Year Founded 1609
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Year Reconstructed 2000 (Osyoin Palace)
Features palace, water moats, trenches, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access Sasayama-guchi Station (Fukuchiyama Line), bus
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.city.sasayama.hyogo.jp/osyoin/
Location Sasayama, Hyogo Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 4' 24", 135° 13' 3"
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Admin
Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Added to Jcastle 2004


2.78
(9 votes)
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SuupaahiirooAshigaru

11 months ago
Score 1++

I recommend visiting Sasayama Castle.

First some general notes. There are no rental cycles in winter (roughly December through February, if I remember correctly), so please check beforehand. The bus connection from Sasayama-guchi to the town is good, though, so it's not really a problem.

Some places in the town suffered damage from typhoon 21 (October 2017). Parts of the ishigaki were damaged, very little though so it's hardly noticeable. However, because there seems to be some danger of further crumbling of the walls, some parts of the castle are off limits (i.e. the path between the uchibori and the stone walls of the honmaru). The Aoyama History Museum suffered more serious damage: the nagaya that Furinkazan describes below and another building on those premises. Both are off limits, but you can see a magnificent scroll (with anthropomorphous mice) in the small museum in the old warehouse. The 600 yen pass to the four sites is still well worth it, I think.

Some comments on the castle itself. Like other people here, I think the introductory video was very well done. For me personally, the most enjoyable thing at this site were the kokuin (刻印) on the ishigaki. There are many to be found, many of them very clear. The best places to find them were the tenshudai and at the entrance to the Ōshoin.
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EricShogun

11 months ago
Score 0++
Thank you for the updates!
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FurinkazanHatamoto

19 months ago
Score 1++

From Kyôto it's a 15 min ride to Shin Ôsaka and from there to Sasayamaguchi station it's a 50 min ride with the Kônotori. The weather was outstanding today and i went to the information ofgice at the station. The lady asked me directly if i was going to the castle. She told me to take a bus from busstop 2 at the west exit of the station. I told her i was going with a cycle and she send me to the east exit of the station. There i was proposed 2 kind of cycles. One like Raymond mentioned in his comment. The fee now is 800¥. But you can take a cycle without battery assistance for 600¥. I took one with assistance. The saddles zre too low for taking a normal one. I received several maps at yhe information office and at the rental shed. The guy there was very helpful how to get at the center of the city. Sasayama has a lot to offer for history enthusiasts. I stopped first at the Seiganji. from there i went to the Aoyama history museum. The nagaya is a City designated Cultural Property. There are several nice artifacts. You can pay a 600¥ combination ticket for this museum and the 3 following. It halfs the fee if you pay each fee independently. From there i rode to the bukeyashiki, which is also the Anma historical museum. It's a nice residence in the samurai district. I went to the castle by beginning at the south Umadashi. This is completely overgrown. I went to the Ôshoin. Like Rebolforces mentioned, the introductory video of the castle is very well done. I recommend to look at it. The model is also a nice piece. The reconstructed building is beautiful. The castle grounds were used in several movies. There is a panel with the titles of 5 movies. They are still working on the outer moat to restore it like it was in the Edo-period. I went to the west Umadashi. This one is very well maintained and it's now a little park. Then i went to the Historical Artifacts museum. They have some nice artifacts, like weapons, armors and scrolls. After that i visited several temples and shrines.

I really recommend to visit this little city.
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RebolforcesAshigaru

20 months ago
Score 0++
The video presentation of the history for building this castle was first rate. Probably the best I have seen, very good English subtitles.
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RaymondWHatamoto

112 months ago
Score 0++
This is a nice little castle ruin to visit. It’s a little out of the way, but you can get there from Osaka in around an hour. However, the castle site is 6km from the JR Sasayamaguchi Station. I rented a bicycle for 700yen (whole day and the only rate) from the bike rental place next to the train station and rode into Sasayama in around 15 minutes. The bicycles are new red commuter bikes with three gears and battery-assisted. The castle has lots of its ishigaki left along with most of its water moats intact. The about-to-be-released Japanese film called “Katen no Shiro” (火天の城) had a few of its scenes filmed at Sasayama Castle. One thing about the stones at Sasayama Castle which stood out is that it has a huge variety of symbols carved on some of them because around 20 lords or so were encouraged by Tokugawa Ieyasu to fund the building of this castle. The original samurai homes are a huge plus when it comes to visiting this quiet castle town. Here is some information that I picked up from the “Aoyama Historical Residence”, one of the samurai houses that I visited. The brochure (only in Japanese) states that there were 14 Lords of Sasayama Castle. The first eight, from 1609 to (presumably 1748) were held by the Matsudairas. From 1748 until the Meji Restoration, it had six Aoyama lords. The brochure only says when the lords began their reign at the castle. The first Aoyama lordship started in 1748, so I have made the assumption that the Matsudaira Clan ruled until the changeover in 1748. The castle was built in 1609, and I think torn down in 1871, so that means the Matsudaira Clan ruled it for 139 years and the Aoyama Clan ruled it for 123 years, almost a fifty-fifty split between the two clans.
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Anonymous user #1

116 months ago
Score 0++
Just to let you know, the castle was primarily held by the Aoyama clan during the Edo period, not the Matsudaira.
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Anonymous user #1

130 months ago
Score 0++
A perfect setting. The town is great, unluckily no original buildings stand in the castle. However, the Honmaru palace has been reconstructed.