Wakasa Takeda Yakata

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History

For the historical background of this site see my article below on Nochiseyama Castle:

Nochiseyamajō, constructed in 1522 by Takeda Motomitsu, governor of Wakasa Province, was the main castle of the Wakasa-Takeda Clan. Takeda Nobutoyo succeeded Motomitsu. Following the unexpected death of the head of the clan, Takeda Yoshizumi, in 1568, the Asakura Clan of neighbouring Echizen invaded Wakasa and captured Yoshizumi’s young son, Takeda Yoshiaki, then aged 6. He was held as a hostage at Ichijōdanijō until its destruction by Oda Nobunaga in 1573; Yoshiaki was rescued by loyal retainers of the Awaya Clan (see Kuniyoshi Castle) and, now a strapping boy of 11, joined the Oda faction, but he did not regain his legacy. After siding with Akechi Mitsuhide upon the death of Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Yoshiaki was compelled to commit suicide in 1583, aged 21.

In 1573, following the defeat of the Asakura, Niwa Nagahide took over Nochiseyamajō and reconstructed it in the latest style of the time, following the grand manner of Oda Nobunaga’s Azuchijō, with stone-piled ramparts and a donjon. The castle ruins we see today date to this time.

During the hegemony of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, various lords controlled Wakasa, including the Asano and Kinoshita clans. Nochiseyamajō was sidelined when its new lord, Kyōgoku Takatsugu, constructed Obamajō by the sea to replace it in 1601. Many mountaintop castles were decommissioned in favour of (proto-modern) flatland or hilltop-flatland castles at that time, although Nochiseyamajō may have been an exception for a time. Obamajō quite infamously took a long time to build, and its construction was only completed when the Sakai Clan took over. As a result, Nochiseyamajō may have been retained as an operating fort until 1642. Furthermore, the Wakasa-Takeda-yakata, the fortified manor hall at the foot of the castle mount, was converted into a funerary temple of Kyōgoku Takatsugu which later was also used as the family temple of the Sakai (their graves can be found there today), and its embankments and moat were retained. It may be that the castle mount and its environs were considered as a potential emergency fortification well into the Edo period.


Visit Notes

Wakasa-Takeda-yakata, the manor hall of the Wakasa-Takeda Clan, was constructed in 1522 by Takeda Motomitsu, governor of Wakasa Province. The Wakasa-Takeda were independent of the Kai-Takeda (and outlived them). Their manor hall site, which functioned as the kyokan (residential area) attached to Nochiseyamajō, is now a temple called Kūinji. The yakata was surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts) and a mizubori (water moat). There appears to be a (very modest) segment of restored dorui in the fields surrounding the temple adjacent to the road. There is information on signboards about the site and excavations carried out there.

Oh, I should mention about the temple: Kūinji is the bodaiji (clan temple) of the Sakai and their tombstones can be found here, but it is probably best known as the ‘mermaid temple’. There is a small cave, or grotto really, where an eighty year old nun died. Sorry, did I say ‘eighty’? I meant ‘eight-hundred year old’! Well, it’s just a legend, but the story of Happyaku Bikuni, the immortal nun who ate a mermaid, can be found here: http://www.kunin-jj.org/kuinji-temple-313542136023546.html

By the way, despite modern depictions of mermaids found throughout the town of Obama, traditional Japanese mermaids (ningyo) are not beautiful maidens of the sea, but fish with humanoid faces, like Will Smith in ‘Shark Tale’. I suppress a shudder.




Gallery
  • Restored dorui segment


Castle Profile
English Name Wakasa Takeda Yakata
Japanese Name 若狭武田館
Founder Takeda Motomitsu
Year Founded 1522
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui
Features
Visitor Information
Access Obama Station on the Obama Line; 10 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7 free; temple
Time Required 20 minutes
Location Obama, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 29' 31.20" N, 135° 44' 17.05" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Yogo


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