Kamei Castle

From Jcastle.info


Fukushima Masanori was awarded Aki and Bingo (present day Hiroshima Prefecture), former regions ruled by the Mori Clan, after the Battle of Sekigahara. Kikkawa Hiroie built Iwakuni Castle in Suou (present day eastern Yamaguchi Prefecture) in 1601, so Fukushima was ordered by Tokugawa Ieyasu to construct a castle nearby to defend Aki (present day western Hiroshima Prefecture) against possible Mori incursions. It was one of the satellite castles built to protect Hiroshima Castle. Other ones were constructed in Miyoshi, Tojo, Mihara, Kannabe, and Tomo. Construction of Kamei Castle in Ogata began in 1603 under Fukushima’s nephew, Fukushima Hoki. He died a year before it was completed in 1608. Yamada Koemon and Mori Sasuke became the lords of the castle after its completion. Kamei Castle acted as defensive gateway into Aki from Suou, and it also protected and defended the sea lanes between the coast and Itsukushima (island where present day Miyajima Shrine is located).

This castle had eleven baileys: Honmaru, Ninomaru, Sannoumaru, Arinomaru, Nashinomaru, Matsunomaru, Nagoyamaru, Junomaru, Tsumenomaru, Kagaminomaru, and Myokenmaru. The first eight baileys listed were spread out in a line on a small hill, 88m above sea-level at its highest point. This fortress also had a three-storey castle keep and a port in the castle town at the base of the castle. The castle had a short military life and was decommissioned in 1611 after Tokugawa realized that the Mori Clan posed no real military threat. It was called Kamei Castle because of the shape of the terrain that the castle was built on. It was said to look like a turtle lying on its stomach.

Visit Notes

The stone walls were much more impressive and the site was more extensive than I had expected. This is definitely a castle worth visiting. Some of the walls have obviously been rebuilt and look in a cleaner condition while some walls look more like they've been untouched giving them a more ancient castle ruins atmosphere. Some of the rebuilt wall structures however don't quite look faithful to the original to me. For example the convenient road alongside the main baileys and the stone walls along the road up. When the buildings were demolished or moved in 1611, the site was abandoned. Much of the walls fell into ruin and were buried over the years, but continuous surveys and studies have rebuilt the castle to what you see today.

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Castle Profile
English Name Kamei Castle
Japanese Name 亀居城
Alternate Names Ogata-jo
Founder Fukushima Hoki
Year Founded 1608
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Kuba Sta. (JR Sanyo Line) 30 min walk or 10 min bus
Visitor Information park, open any time
Time Required 90 mins
Website http://www.city.otake.hiroshima.jp/ch kanko/kanko2.html#kamei
Location Otake, Hiroshima Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 14' 26.12" N, 132° 12' 59.26" E
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Added to Jcastle 2012
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2018
Admin Visits November 9, 2018

(4 votes)
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41 months ago
Score 1++
I really enjoyed this site. It was well kept, well signposted, and had plenty of ishigaki (stone ramparts) and baileys to explore. But the icing on this cake was the sakura petals blanketing everywhere, including the castle walls, like so much pink snow. The petals cascaded down the ishigaki like a waterfall of sakura!