Hyakusaiji Castle

From Jcastle.info



The Hyakusaiji Temple itself was established by Shotoku Taishi in 606. It was probably fortified as a castle in 1503 by the Rokkaku after being burned down in a battle between the Rokkaku and Iba clans. In 1573, Nobunaga found out that Hyakusaiji was supporting the Rokkaku who were under siege by Nobunaga so he burned the castle down. When Nobunaga built Azuchi Castle, he carted away much of the stone from here to use at Azuchi. Most of the stonework you see today was rebuilt for the temple after this time. Hyakusaji Castle is a historically important site in the history of temple fortifications. Besides stone walls it also had moats and typical castle earthworks.

Visit Notes

Photos by David W.

  • Sengoku Period Ishigaki

Castle Profile
English Name Hyakusaiji Castle
Japanese Name 百済寺城
Alternate Names Hyakusaiji Toride
Founder Rokkaku clan
Year Founded 1503
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Yohkaichi Sta (Ohmi Railway), 15 min taxi
Visitor Information
Time Required 45 mins
Website http://www.hyakusaiji.jp
Location Higashi Omi, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 7' 36.80" N, 136° 17' 19.79" E
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Added to Jcastle 2013
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(2 votes)
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27 months ago
Score 0++

Have added pictures of the castle ruins including original ishigaki segments, baileys, mizubori, and karabori. ART's pictures in the gallery begin with the picture labelled "Sengoku Period Ishigaki".

My commentary on the site from my travelogue:

Hyakusaijijō is a temple and a castle ruin overlooking the plains of Ōmi. The temple is so little known that if one searches for it in English the jcastle.info entry should come up for it, meaning the castle site is actually better known to web search engines than the temple - in English anyway. And yet it is a truly wonderful place. It astounded me twofold, both as a temple, and as a great castle ruin, in that order, since most of the castle ruins I identified after going about the temple's precincts and gardens.

Firstly the temple's gardens and causeway of mossy piled rocks are of tremendous beauty, such that I felt the luxury and promise of spring with humbling pathos. I felt that I could live with the buddhas in that oasis until I were no more. The pond at the heart of the temple and garden had no barriers to curtail visitors, and though we had the run of the place our steps were gingerly careful, conscious of entering into a place of perfect tranquility and not wanting to dispoil an inch. I thought of the world-renowned gardens of Suzhou, which I toured in 2017, and though I found some worldly pleasure in that tumult of sightseeing, I found no such transcendent serenity there as here.

And so the temple charmed and healed. But we rejuvenate to exert, and soon again I was once more unto the breach, my friends! The fantastic ruins here swept me up in their mystery. I have mentioned the temple's great causeway. It is bounded by terraces which once formed the gigantic steps of the castle's ramparts. Amongst moss and flowers stone blocks lay scattered about. The temple occupies these central terraces, but they march up and down the whole mountainside. After finding a large segment of ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts), I further found kuruwa (baileys), dorui (earthen ramparts), karabori (dry moats) and other tell-tale castle features. All this was at the top of the temple, but the castle ruins, as I say, cover the whole mountainside. I struck off into the forest in pursuit of a spur of dishevelled stonework and terracing and was immediately rewarded and induced to follow my game. The baileys are large and stacked beneath, above and beside one another in innumerable terraces, many of which still have ishigaki lining them in part. I found another causeway, this one in mouldering ruin. Ishigaki, dorui and kuruwa were on each side and I soon found I could not cover their whole extent in the limited time I had. So instead I went down without daring to go too much across. I saw many ruins even so, and at one point there was a mizubori (water moat) lined with ishigaki. I was able to move quickly due to the open nature of the forest, though many kuruwa were filled with shallow ponds as a stream flowed down the central causeway and trailed off into surrounding enclosures.

After returning to the temple I went to the akamon (red gate) at the bottom of the mountain. One can clearly see through the trees that this whole sloping area is cut and formed into stair-like baileys. I'd seen so much yet likely missed even more! Probably one could spend all day here with the ruins, and I would like to, as well to spend more time in the temple's gardens. At the akamon there is a large, deep karabori, and this seems to be the lower defensive line of the old castle.


30 months ago
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Mighty! Mystical! Magical! These pictures only really show the causeway area and miss the tallest ishigaki segment just behind the garden. I'll contribute a bunch of my own, though it will be difficult to select only a handful... Definitely worth visiting for experienced castle explorers! Potentially many hours of castling to be had here.


48 months ago
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606 seems a little early and the legend surrounding the Prince personally founding the temple is probably just that, although wikipedia notes that the temple's name - Baekje, does suggest a link with the Koreans who settled in Japan following their defeat to the Tang-Silla Coalition, which took place around that time. The earliest records of the temple apparently date to the 11th century? Either way, looks like Oda burnt down all of the original evidence. What a bad man!


96 months ago
Score 0++
There is certainly plenty of ishigaki (stone walls) at this castle ruin and now temple site. The photos for this castle profile features only ishigaki rebuilt for the temple. However, there are some original ishigaki dating back to when Oda Nobunaga took and burnt down the castle. Most of the stones were carted off to build Azuchi Castle, but some of the smaller and \unworthy"stones were left in place. Also not shown are the earthwork remnants of the castle ruin including moats and earthen ramparts that can easily be found if you stray off the main stone stairway up the mountain. There are numerous baileys on either side of the stone stairs. One sign mentions that Nobunaga got some of his design inspiration from Hyakusaji. If you visit both castle ruins you will notice that both of them have the central stone stairs will lots of baileys on either side of the main stone stairway. There is also another way to get to Hyakusaiji by public transport. You can take a JR train up to Notogawa Station and then catch an hourly bus to Hyakusaiji Honmachi. The bus ride takes roughly 40 minutes"