Yashima no Ki is an ancient castle established in 667 by the Yamato. It is mentioned in the Nihon-Shoki. In 663 the Yamato Court aided on the losing side of the Battle of Baekgang in Korea between the Baekje and Silla Kingdoms. The Silla, aided by Tang Dynasty China, crushed Baekje and the Japanese naval fleet. Baekje loyalists fled to Japan after their defeat. The Japanese feared reprisals from the victorious Tang-Silla Coalition and so established a series of defences around Dazaifu, the then Imperial Office governing Kyūshū, and the Seto Inland Sea. Yashima no Ki was one of these castles, along with Kanata no Ki on Tsushima, and Takayasu no Ki in Yamato (Nara).
Yashima played an important part in Japanese history during the Gempei War between the Taira and Minamoto Clans. The Taira retreated to Yashima in 1183 and the Emperor Go-Shirakawa held court here. After a lull in fighting following the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani, Yashima, which had served as a Taira safe-haven, was finally assaulted by the Minamoto and fell during the Battle of Yashima in 1185. There is a pond next to Yashima Temple called Chi no Ike, “Blood Pond,” because it is said that when the victorious Minamoto washed their weapons here the blood ran off and dyed the pond red. People buy small clay discs and throw them off the mountain for good luck. It symbolises the victorious Minamoto throwing off their headpieces after defeating the Taira.
In 1998 the ruins of the castle were discovered and they have been since excavated and the walls have been restored in the process. The ruins have recently been made accessible to the public.
A note on the Kanji and pronounciation: Both Kanji are used, 屋島城・屋嶋城 , the latter having the older kanji for island. Due to the great age of this site, the pronounciation is properly “Yashima no Ki,” how it was recorded in the Nihon-Shoki, rather than Yashimajō. The ruins themselves are modest, but the mountain has several other cultural and historic sites which add to the trip.
Profile by ART and photos by ART and Furinkazan
|English Name||Yashima Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Yashima Sta. (Kotoku Line), Shuttle buses running hourly go up and down the mountain. Kotoden-Yashima Station on the Kotoden-Shiba Line is also serviced by this bus. You can see a rope way from Kotoden-Yashima but since 2004 it no longer in use|
|Visitor Information||free, 24/7|
|Time Required||15 minutes|
|Location||Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 21' 15", 134° 6' 19"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2016|