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Castle Gakuden Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Gakuden Castle (楽田城 Gakuden-jō) is a flatland castle (平城 hirajiro) located in the eastern part of the Nobi Plain, south of Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, and most importantly, close to the Kiso Highway (木曽街道). It is located halfway between Inuyama Castle (犬山城) and Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城).

Gakuden Castle (楽田城)

Oda Hisanaga (織田久長) built the castle in the Eishō period (永正年間, 1504-1521). The castle was then occupied by the Gakuden Oda clan but was captured in 1558 by Oda Nobukiyo (織田信清), lord of Inuyama Castle, who had joined Oda Nobunaga, the most powerful man in Owari. The castle became an outpost for Nobukiyo. According to an old document called 'Irou Monogatari' (遺老物語, Tales of an Old Man), an earthen platform was built inside the castle in 1558, on which a second-floor eight-tatami mat room was built, which some believe to be the origin of the castle tower.

In 1562, Nobukiyo was forced out of Inuyama Castle and Gakuden Castle was defended by Nobunaga's general Sakai Masahisa (坂井政尚). However, after Sakai's eldest son, Kyuzo (久蔵) was killed in the Battle of Anegawa in July 1570, and Masahisa died in December of the same year in Katada, Omi Province, Kajikawa Takamori (梶川高盛) occupied Gakuden Castle. During the Battle of Komaki Nagakute in 1584, Toyotomi Hideyoshi set up his headquarters here and faced Tokugawa Ieyasu on Mount Komaki. After the battle, the castle was abandoned.

The castle's ruins survived until the Taisho period (1912-1926) but were removed when the site was chosen for Inuyama Municipal Gakuden Elementary School. In 1980, the keep's remains were removed to make way for a sports field. Today, only a few structures remain from the donjon, including a relocated monument and some earthworks.

The remaining ruins of the castle are now the Gakuden Elementary School. The remains were demolished when the school was expanded. Nowadays, only the castle monument remains. However, the names of the surrounding places - Shiroyama (城山), Uranomon (裏之門) and Sotoyashiki (外屋敷) - tell the story of the castle's former location.

Gakuden Castle (楽田城)

Aerial photographs taken from Geographical Survey Institute maps. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

We walked from Gakuden Station on Meitetsu Komaki Line. It takes about five minutes in a southeasterly direction from the station to reach the castle ruins monument in the photo at the beginning of this article. The monument is located just in front of the west gate of Gakuden Elementary School.
Gakuden Castle (楽田城)

There was another castle monument at Suga Shrine (須賀神社), north of the elementary school.

Gakuden Castle (楽田城)

Although the area around the castle ruins is flat with almost no elevation, Hideyoshi set up his headquarters at Gakuden Castle. Inuyama Castle, further to the north, was constructed on a steep hill overlooking the Kiso River, and hills surround it to the east and south. This contrasts with Ieyasu, who set up his main camp on Komakiyama, a fortified area, and built earthen walls around it. Probably, Hideyoshi's army, superior in numbers, chose this place because it was easier for a large army to camp there.

Date of visit: 21 March 2014


  • Address: 48 Shiroyama, Inuyama, Aichi 484-0858
  • Access: a 5-minute walk from Gakuden Station (楽田駅) on the Meitetsu Komaki Line (名鉄小牧線).
    Six kilometres from Komaki Interchange of Tomei Expressway via Prefectural Road 176.
    By car two kilometres from Nagoya Second Ring Road Obata Interchange via Prefectural Route 15.
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Komakiyama Castle
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Ryusenji Castle
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Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.


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Hiroto Uehara
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〒484-0858 愛知県犬山市城山48

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