Toro Castle (Mikawa)


MikawaTorojou (10).JPG


Torojō was constructed by Ishikawa Kazumasa under the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1564 during or after the Mikawa Ikkō-Ikki revolt. The fort was used to suppress the rebels. The temple to Hachiman in Toro, first built in antiquity, had been razed during that conflict as it had been a stronghold of the rebels, and the second bailey of Torojō was built on the site, a hill called Gobōzan after the temple. The main bailey of Torojō was built on a small hill about 5m high and to the west of the temple site. The two hills overlooked a road between them called Doronishiodō ('Doro East Ridge Road'), which the fort guarded. A jōkamura (castle-village) developed around Torojō, following development spurred by Tokugawa Ieyasu who sanctioned the opening of a market near the castle.

It has been noted that the distance between the proposed inner and outer baileys of Torojō is quite considerable. Since suburban sprawl spilling out of Okazaki has long since engulfed the area, and modern infrastructure has cut through terrain, the interceding gap between the two remnants of fortified areas made it difficult to determine the relationship between them. It is known that the Ikkō-Ikki used the Toro Hachimangū sanctuary, then part of a temple called Honshūji (still extant, but relocated to the south, and separated from the Toro Hachimangū due to shinbutsu-bunri / State Shintō), as a stronghold. It is possible that Torojō consisted of only the inner fort, the smaller hill, and the outer fort was actually just the ruins of the Ikkō-Ikki stronghold. It is also possible that the two fortified hills formed between them a fortified village or walled settlement, consistent with the locale being a market town. It has also been suggested that the smaller westerly hill hosted a satellite fortification of the larger easterly fortified mount. Now not even the terrain remains intact, so Torojō's exact structure is anybody's guess.

Visit Notes

Torojō is a fort which was built by Ishikawa Kazumasa, the daimyō who would, many years later, construct Matsumoto Castle. It seems that I was too late to visit this castle, which I did in 2023, as the small hill which constituted the fort's main bailey was flattened in 2022. I found the area to be empty plots with a few homes being constructed. However, Torojō was possibly quite extensive and the fort's second or outer bailey is now the site of Doro-Hachimangū, a shrine to Hachiman which was (re-)built in 1619 on a hill called Gobōzan or Mibōyama (御坊山).

There was a small marker post for the castle in the main bailey, but that was removed along with the hill top itself. Now the only marker for the castle is found at the eastern entrance of the Hachiman shrine. Before the destruction of the main bailey mount, a hill called Midōyama or Godōsan (御堂山), last year, the hill appeared 5m tall with shorn sides. The space on top was flattened, and had formerly hosted a temple. A historic cenotaph to Rennyo stood there, since that famous priest had lived in the area for a decade in the 15th century. This too is now relocated or lost.

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  • Marker post for the castle site
  • Former main bailey site

Castle Profile
English Name Toro Castle (Mikawa)
Japanese Name 三河土呂城
Founder Ishikawa Kazumasa
Year Founded 1564
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Visitor Information
Access Okazaki Station (JR) on the Tōkaidō Main Line; 30 minute walk to Toro Hachimangū
Visitor Information 24/7 free; shrine
Time Required 40 minutes
Location Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture
Coordinates 34° 54' 26.78" N, 137° 9' 7.31" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Shashin Kiroku
Aichi Shiro

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