Ema Yakata

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The Ema Clan Yakata was in place by the Muromachi Period at the latest. Takaharasuwa Castle was their main fortification with the Yakata in the valley below being the main residence. A ring of fortifications surrounded Ema-yakata. Successive defeats in 1582 and 1585 led to the annihilation of the Ema Clan. It is thought that the Yakata was abandoned as early as 1564 as operations moved to nearby Kamioka Castle, perhaps due to its upgraded defensive infrastructure (deeper, wider moats; plus overlooking a cliff face). The decision was made by Takeda Shingen whom the Ema had submitted to.

Visit Notes

Yakata were the fortified manor houses of land-holding warriors. In the Heian Period power gradually moved from the capital, Heian (Kyōto), and the Imperial Court, to the land-owning warrior caste. These samurai, originally servants, later masters, built bukeyashiki (warrior residences) and eventually larger administrative centers called Yakata. The Kamakura and Muromachi periods saw the establishment of many Yakata. There were intermitten conflicts however and Yamajiro (mountain castles) also began to be built during this time as temporary forts to use during times of invasion and siege. Ema(shi)-yakata, of the Ema Clan, is one of the few reconstructed Yakata. It blends elements of shinden-dzukuri and shoin-dzukuri architecture and contains a preserved medieval era garden (it was buried under rice fields and later excavated remarkably intact). Large pounded earth walls with a gate and moats surround the site. Only the main hall has been reconstructed within the walls but other structures have been mapped out with decking where they once stood. Various subsidiary buildings also existed surrounding the main compound. The main hall contains a warrior's audience chamber with a hidden room attached to conceal men-at-arms. One can see the Yakata from above if one visits the main bailey of Takaharasuwajō. Another castle site is nearby, Higashimachijō / Kamiokajō, which features a faux reconstructed keep.


Castle Profile
English Name Ema Yakata
Japanese Name 江馬館
Alternate Names 江馬下館
Founder Ema Clan
Year Founded Muromachi Period
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Year Reconstructed 2007
Artifacts Karabori, heavy earthen walls, gate, manor building, garden
Features gates, trenches, walls
Visitor Information
Access Nearest Station is probably Hida-Furukawa. Need bus or taxi / car.
Visitor Information 10am - 4pm
Time Required one hour
Website https://www.hida-kankou.jp/spot/3172/
Location Hida, Gifu Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 19' 34.39" N, 137° 18' 34.24" E
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Added to Jcastle 2019
Contributor ART
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