Ono castle is considered Japan's oldest castle. It was built to defend the cultural-political centre of Daizaifu, and provide refuge if Daizaifu fell under attack. According to the `Chronicles of Japan,` (Nihon Shoki), in the year 660, the Baekje (Kudara) kingdom on the Korean peninsula was besieged by the Tang-Silla alliance, and requested a relief force from the Yamato court in Japan. Crown Prince Naka no Ōe, later to become Emperor Tenji, and Empress Saimei ordered the dispatch of troops and ships, who ultimately sustained heavy casualties at the Battle of Baekgang in 663. Suffering from critical losses, and fearing retribution or invasion from the victorious Tang-Silla alliance, the Yamato court ordered the creation of Ono castle. This involved fortifying some eight kilometres of mountaintop and constructing and provisioning over 70 storehouses within the defenses. Other shore-based defenses and island-based signal towers were also constructed around this time, although the expected attack never came.
Ono castle in effect comprises the entire mountain, with the various remains of stone walls, storehouses, ponds and gates scattered across it. It currently doubles as a nature park so there are many trails for hiking and enjoying nature - access to specific parts of the castle being inadequately sign-posted and at times confusing. The nearby Mizuki castle remains are usually considered a set with Ono castle, both erected in defense of Dazaifu, so these two sites may be of interest too.
profile and photos contributed by Kris
|Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site, Special Historic Site
|Pre Edo Period
|By car: there is car parking at Shiouji-kenmin-no-mori. There is also a community bus from Daizaifu station, or Nishitetsu bus from Fukuoka Station.
|Park facilities are open: April to September 9：00～6：00 October to March 9：00～5：00
|Several hours: a lot of walking required between sites.
|Ohno, Fukuoka Prefecture
|33° 32' 2.80" N, 130° 31' 6.89" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited