Ohhara Castle

From Jcastle.info



This small flatland castle was built by the Ohhara Clan, one of the major clans in the Koka Region. It is a square fortification protected by earthen ramparts on four sides with two koguchi (gates) on its northern and southern sides. In modern times, a third entrance has been opened up on the eastern side for vehicular entry. The earthen ramparts were ringed by a water moat on three sides (east, west, and north). It is now just a shallow dry moat.

Visit Notes

Ohhara Castle Ruin is one of the many tiny fortifications that dot the countryside in the Koka Region of Shiga Prefecture. As far as I know, this castle ruin is only briefly mentioned in one locally published castle book about castles in Shiga. This castle ruin is about 10 minutes walk from JR Koka Station. The earthen ramparts and moat which ring the main bailey are pretty much intact. However, unlike other bigger and more popular castle sites in Shiga, this castle ruin is not signposted, and the main bailey is someone’s private residence. It is not open to the public.


Castle Profile
English Name Ohhara Castle
Japanese Name 大原城
Founder Ohhara Clan
Year Founded In the Muromachi Period (1338 to 1573)
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Koguchi, Karabori
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Koka Sta (Kusatsu Line), 10 min walk
Visitor Information private residence
Time Required 20 minutes
Location Koka, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 53' 48.41" N, 136° 12' 58.25" E
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Added to Jcastle 2013
Contributor RaymondW
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(3 votes)
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22 months ago
Score 0++
Both Iga and Kōka, the former formerly its own province and the latter a former district of Ōmi Province, are famous for ninja, a modern pop-cultural phenomena whose historical antecedents have little in common with its expression today. But they are perculiar to castle fans, for, ultimately, not unrelated reasons, as they contain lots and lots of castle ruins. Most of these sites were formerly small forts. The decentralised nature of local politics and absentee overlordism in the two geographically adjacent regions facilitated this type of small castle construction in profusion. Small clans, some of them little better than robbers and rebellious peasants in pedigree, would regularly fight and steal from each other. This, in part, gave rise to the ninja renowned from folklore, and also to small fortifications in abundance. In the area of Kōka Station there are several sites. The best preserved is this one, Ohharajō, with its large dorui (ramparts of piled earth) and moat. It can only be appreciated from without as it is now somebody's house and private property. Imagine if your home was ringed by these large embankments! Ohharajō originally had two entrances, to the north and south, but a large one has been cut into the dorui to allow for vehicles to enter. But at least one of the original entrances still has an old gate there, presumably forming the residence's main entrance before its inhabitants adopted the motor car. The surrounding countryside and settlement are a scene or idyllic rural life, and I was most pleased to see that cheap ninja attractions had not taken root here, being confined to the train station. Kōka Station gives access to little of interest for the casual tourist, as the ninja attractions associated with the city are located elsewhere. After Ohharajō the next best preserved site in the vicinity is Hodarakujijō which has the same basic layout as Ohharajō.


25 months ago
Score 0++
Nearby Hodarakujijou has a similar (but more deformed) layout.