Tage Castle and the Oyama Castle ruins in Tochigi

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Tage Castle and the Oyama Castle ruins in Tochigi Pref.

27/05/2018


This was a day out in Tochigi Pref in late April. The weeds are starting to get a little high to really enjoy the castle ruins of un-maintained areas, but it was still a great day out.

Tage Castle had been off my radar for a long time but as I was looking for a mountaintop castle that wasn't too difficult to get to but still had plenty to see I happened on to Tage Castle again. I like to combine trips to a big castle with some nearby smaller ruins and that's where I combined the day with a trip to Oyama and the three other castles you see here. There is some other great stuff around Kanuma near Tage Castle, but I'm saving that for a cycling trip this autumn. Originally I had planned to visit Nakakuki Castle on this day as well but by the time I was done with Washi Castle I was pretty well exhausted and may have been running too low on blood from all the mosquitoes in Oyama :) to walk a couple more kilometers to Nakakuki Castle too. Maybe I'll have a chance to visit Nakakuki Castle again some time and finish off the National Historic Sites known as the Oyama Castle Ruins.


Chofuku Castle / 長福城

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There is only a small stone pillar to indicate a castle was here. There is some earthen embankment type structure across the street but it's not known for sure if it's from the castle or not.
Gion Castle / 祗園城

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At first this looks a lot like Sano Castle but the ruins are much more extensive and the original castle was even larger. The trenches and embankments out the north side of the castle are impressive. The umadashi bailey and entrance before the Honmaru is also particularly interesting and well preserved. The umadashi bailey itself is quite large and the trenches deep. You might not recognize it as an umadashi without the sign. Combined with Washi Castle and Nakakuki Castle these sites, called the Oyama Castle Ruins, are designated as National Historic Sites.
Tage Castle / 多気城

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There are a few different busses that go to within walking distance of the Mt. Taki so I recommend you check multiple routes to get there. There are also multiple hiking routes to the top of the mountain but I would recommend starting from the Tagefudoson Temple. It is probably the easiest route up and allows you to visit this interesting temple. One of the more interesting features of this castle is that it had a vast circular trench nearly 2km around the base of the mountain. Some remains of this trench can be seen today. If you follow the road around the base of the mountain and watch downslope you should be able to find some remnants. You can also check the map coordinates for some of my photos here.
Washi Castle / 鷲城

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There really is not much to see here. There are 2 main large baileys with embankments and trenches around them. The second trench is much farther out and I did not have time to visit. Together with Gion Castle and Nakakuki Castle, this set of Oyama Clan Castles are designated National Historic Sites. Even though it was still April the trenches were thick with weeds and mosquitoes and the bottom was very muddy so I would recommend a visit in winter. The map below is interesting because you can easily see the trench and embankment around the bailey. The big open space is now a farm field and much of the other green areas are off limits.
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