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Castle Komakiyama Castle

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Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城 Komakiyama-jō) was located in Komaki City, Aichi Prefecture. It is located approximately 10 kilometres north of Nagoya City on Mount Komaki, an isolated 86-metre-high hill in the centre of the Nōbi Plain (濃尾平野) in central Owari Province. In 1927, the ruins were protected as a National Historic Site.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) built the castle in 1563 to support his conquest of Mino Province. After unifying Owari and winning the Battle of Okehazama (桶狭間の戦い, 1560), Nobunaga moved his headquarters from Kiyosu Castle (清須城) to Komakiyama to concentrate his efforts on the Mino campaign. Nobunaga constructed not only the castle but also developed the castle town. Four years later, in 1567, when he had brought Mino under his control, he moved his headquarters to Gifu Castle (岐阜城) and Komakiyama Castle was abandoned.

The castle reappeared on the historical stage in the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute (小牧・長久手の戦い) in 1584: Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康), who had joined forces with Oda Nobukatsu (織田信雄) to oppose Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), restored Komakiyama Castle and set up his headquarters there. In the Edo period (1603-1867), the castle site was protected by the Nagoya clan because of its association with Ieyasu, and the remains of the castle were still in good condition.

Komakiyama is a small mountain of about 86 metres in height but is visible from a distance due to the surrounding plains. The entire mountain and the eastern part of the foothills were used to construct the castle rings and other structures. The castle town was located on the southern side of the mountain.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

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

We walked to the castle from Komaki Station on Meitetsu Komaki Line. We got a brochure from the Komaki City Tourist Association in the station building and set off.

➢ ① Komadome Garden (駒止庭園)
The first place we stopped was Komadome Garden near the station. The name comes from the fact that Honda Tadakatsu (本多忠勝) stopped his horse there.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ② Ruins of Fort Kanishimizu (蟹清水砦跡)

The Tokugawa had a fort here.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

Walking westwards, Komaki Mountain soon becomes visible.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

Then we arrived at Komaki Mountain. The entire mountain, including the foot of the hill, is a park.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)


Komakiyama Castle Topography

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

➢ ③ Side entrance (搦手口)

This is a view of the castle's north side, at the entrance to the leno gate.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ④ Cross-section of an earthwork

The earthworks are commonplace, but this is the first time I have seen their cross-sections. Tokugawa Ieyasu constructed the earthworks surrounding the mountain in a short period in preparation for battle.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

The earthworks remain in this good condition.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ Obi Kuruwa (帯曲輪群)

There are numerous obi kuruwa at the foot of the mountain. Each of them is said to have housed the residences of influential vassals.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ⑤ Kuruwa 402.

The largest of these, Kuruwa 402, is estimated to have housed the residence of Oda Nobunaga.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ⑥ Miyukibashi entrance (御幸橋口)

The Miyukibashi entrance was established on the castle's south-eastern side during the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ⑦ Ōteguchi (大手口)

Ōteguchi means the main entrance. To the west of the former Komaki City Hall building is a significant road straight up Castle Hill.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ⑧ Sakura Horse Farm (桜の馬場)

This is located halfway up Castle Hill. Ropes have been set up, and places are being taken for flower viewing more than two weeks ahead of time.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ⑨ Komakiyama Inari Shrine (小牧山稲荷神社)

This shrine is dedicated to Kichigoro, a fox deity who used to live in Komakiyama.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

The entire mountain was fortified, and there are numerous remains of what are thought to be the remains of several berms and earthworks on the hillside.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)


Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ Stone walls (石垣)

As an early stone wall construction, it was of a simple shape, with a low stone wall made of two or three huge stones stacked in a staircase-like formation. However, this aspect of Nobunaga's love of new things can also be seen here.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)
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Stonewall backfill stones discovered during excavations are temporarily stacked outside.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

➢ ⑩ Komaki City History Museum (Komaki Castle, 小牧市歴史館 小牧城)

Built by a Nagoya businessman and donated to Komaki City.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

View towards Nagoya from the observatory in the History Museum.

Komakiyama Castle (小牧山城)

Date of visit: 21 March 2014

Access:

  • Address: 1-chome Horinouchi, Komaki, Aichi 485-0046
  • Access: To Otekuchi: a 20-minute walk from Komaki Station on the Meitetsu Komaki Line.
    Two kilometres from Komaki Interchange on Tomei Expressway via Prefectural Route 197.
  • Parking: Komakushan North car park (two hours free of charge: point 'P' on the map above).
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Iwakura Castle (Aichi)
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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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〒485-0046 愛知県小牧市堀の内1丁目

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