Ashimori-jin'ya was founded by Kinoshita Iesada, the brother of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's wife, O'ne, in the late 16th century. The domain was valued at about 25,000 koku. Following his sister's advice, Kinoshita Iesada remained neutral during the Battle of Sekiǵahara. Due to an inheritance dispute after Iesada's death in 1608, the Kinoshita were expelled from Ashimori by the Shogunate, and Asano Nagākira was installed as lord, making Ashimori a subfief of Wakayama Domain. However, Kinoshita Toshifusa, Iesada's second son, won back Tokugawa Ieyasu's favour during the summer campaign in Ôsaka and was so reinstated after as the lord of Ashimori. The Kinoshita Clan, relatives by marriage to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruled Ashimori for the remainder of the Edo period.
Most jin'ya date to the Edo period if they weren't formerly castles, but Ashimori-jin'ya was established in the Sengoku period; it is said that the Kinoshita did not build a large castle out of deference to the then hegemonic Tokugawa. Ashimori-jin'ya is a good example of a jin'ya as a 'mini-castle' with smaller scale moats and ramparts. In 1708 the Kinoshita participated in the construction of the Sentō Palace in Kyōto, and with left over materials from that construction project they built the Ginpūkaku, a tea pavilion, and developed a garden, both of which remain to this day.
Ashimori-jin’ya is a picturesque site. There are original structures, including a respectable, multistorey tea pavilion, in the garden which was part of the jin’ya. The garden is a kind of small daimyō garden, and is therefore another precious artefact of the Edo period. The site is surrounded by a mizubori (water moat) lined with ishigaki (stone-piled retaining walls), and even the stone bridge over the moat is at least partially original. There is also a masugata (square gate complex) ruin. These features are small in scale, but that just makes it all the more impressive that they have survived all this time. On the site of the jin’ya today is a park and the residence famous for being the birthplace of Kinoshita Rigen, a famous poet. More importantly, this was the latter day residence of the lords of Ashimori Domain. I don’t think we can call it a goten (palace), and the main jin’ya buildings are now gone, and so I’ll class this one as a bukeyashiki (‘samurai house’), or daimyō residence, albeit a humble one. I don’t suppose Lord Kinoshita was too particular about categorising each structure; that is a modern ailment.There are other bukeyashiki in the well preserved jin'ya-machi besides, including the residence of the Ashimori Domain karō (chief retainer) which is open to the public (for free).
|English Name||Ashimori Jin'ya|
|Year Founded||Momoyama Period|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Designations||has Important Cultural Properties, Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Ginpūkaku, Garden, Ishigaki, Masugata, &c.|
|Features||bridges, palace, samurai homes, water moats, stone walls, castle town|
|Access||Ashimori Station on the Kibi Line; 50 minute walk or 7 minute drive|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; park|
|Time Required||60 minutes|
|Location||Okayama, Okayama Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 43' 47.64" N, 133° 48' 2.48" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|