Oohara Castle

From Jcastle.info



This small flatland castle was the residence of the Ohhara Clan, one of the major clans in the Koka Region. It is not an ideal location for defense because it has no natural defenses besides the earthen ramparts and is actually a slightly lower elevation than the surroundings. The key advantage of this site is actually to control trade and transportation due to it's proximity to two rivers and the road to Iga. The Ohhara lands were confiscated by Hideyoshi in 1585 in his actions to break up the Koka allied families. See Koka Castles for more details.

Visit Notes

Ohhara Castle is a yakatajiro 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. Looking at old maps and the layout of houses and roads today, it is surmised that the area around the castle may have also had a similar design to that of Ue Castle or Kuraji Castle.

The earthen ramparts and moat which ring the main bailey are mostly 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.

  • Eastern Side
  • Former Water Moat and Earthen Rampart Eastern Side
  • Earthen Ramparts Eastern Side
  • Earthen Ramparts Southern Side
  • Earthen Ramparts Southern Side
  • 2nd Bailey Foreground with Main Bailey Background and Earthen Rampart Southern Side
  • Yakuimon and Earthen Ramparts Southern Side
  • Former water moats

Castle Profile
English Name Ohhara Castle
Japanese Name 大原城
Alternate Names Ohhara Kazuma Yashiki
Founder Ohhara Clan
Year Founded Muromachi Period (1338 to 1573)
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Koka Sta. (JR 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
Loading map...
Collections Koka Castles
Added to Jcastle 2013
Contributor RaymondW
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(3 votes)
Add your comment
Jcastle.info welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.



56 months ago
Score 1++
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.


58 months ago
Score 1++
Nearby Hodarakujijou has a similar (but more deformed) layout.