The early history of Tage Castle is relatively unknown. There are different legends attributing its origins to the 10th Century and 14th C. Records from the Utsunomiya clan say that they built the castle in about one month in 1576. Given the vast size of this castle, however, if it were really completed in a month it was likely built on an older castle. The home castle of the Utsunomiya clan was Utsunomiya Castle about 10km away to the southeast. The Utsunomiya fortified Mt. Taki as a defense against incursions from the Hojo. There was some conflict within the Utsunomiya clan as well as with their allies whether to side with the Hojo or resist them. The main clan at Utsunomiya Castle continued to resist and since Utsunomiya Castle, a flatland castle, was not easily defended and not suitable for a long siege, they moved their main base to Tage Castle. In 1590, when Hideyoshi's pacification of the Hojo began, the Utsunomiya sided with Hideyoshi and were able to retain their lands after the fall of the Hojo as well. After the defeat of the Hojo, the Utsunomiya moved back to Utsunomiya Castle. Despite participating in the Korean Campaigns Utsunomiya Kunitsuna fell out of favor with Hideyoshi their lands were seized by Hideyoshi in 1597. Tage Castle was likely abandoned at this time.
There are a few different busses that go to within walking distance of the Mt. Taki so I recommend you check multiple routes to get there. There are also multiple hiking routes to the top of the mountain but I would recommend starting from the Tagefudoson Temple. It is probably the easiest route up and allows you to visit this interesting temple. One of the more interesting features of this castle is that it had a vast circular trench nearly 2km around the base of the mountain. Some remains of this trench can be seen today. If you follow the road around the base of the mountain and watch downslope you should be able to find some remnants. You can also check the map coordinates for some of my photos here.
|English Name||Tage Castle|
|Year Founded||15th - 16th C.|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Utsunomiya Sta; Kanto Bus for Tateiwa (23 mins), walk to Tagefudoson Temple (20 mins), hike to mountaintop (20mins)|
|Visitor Information||mountain trails, open any time|
|Time Required||90 mins|
|Location||Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 36' 17.28" N, 139° 48' 15.37" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2018|
|Admin Year Visited||2018|
|Admin Visits||April 30, 2018|