This castle was founded by Hojo Ujiyasu to protect the main Hojo stronghold at Odawara. It was part of a string of fortifications that inlcuded Nirayama Castle and Ashigara Castle. As relations between Hojo and Toyotomi Hideyoshi worsened, Hojo Ujimasa began to strengthen the fortifications of Yamanaka Castle around 1587. At this time, the Daisaki Demaru Bailey was constructed to overlook the road leading to Odawara. In 1590 before Hojo had completed the new fortifications, Hideyoshi launched the full force of nearly 70,000 troops against the meager 4,000 defenders of Yamanaka Castle. It is said that the castle fell in less than a half day and in only 2 hours by some accounts. This was the first assault by Hideyoshi on Odawara in his campaign to overthrew the Hojo.
There are no buildings or structures remaining, but you can really understand the layout and grounds of a sengoku period mountaintop castle. The Hojo put all their castle construction techniques and know-how into building this castle. The rare and unique defenses and moat structures are superbly preserved. This castle is a must see for any castle fan. At the entrance to the Daisaki Demaru Bailey, along the roadside, and parking lot is a small shop where you can also get a map and the Top 100 castle stamp.
|English Name||Yamanaka Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Mishima Station (Tokaido Honsen), 30-40 minute bus ride|
|Visitor Information||The park is open any time.|
|Time Required||2 hrs|
|Location||Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 9' 23.26" N, 138° 59' 32.82" E|
|Year Visited||2002, 2012|
|Visits||July 27, 2002; Nov 10, 2012|
|Added to Jcastle||2002|