What's new

Travel Ogura Castle

Status
This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
ogura01-jpg.25112


Ogura Castle (小倉城) is a Sengoku-era hilltop castle located in Tokigawa Town, Saitama Prefecture. It stretched over three mountain ridges and was situated just 600 meters from the Tsuki River, forming a natural stronghold that allowed to monitor the traffic on the river. It was fortified with elaborate stonewalls, an unusual feat for most Sengoku castles in the Chichibu region.

ogura02-jpg.25113

The map is based on Google Earth. The location of the enclosures may not be completely accurate.

It is not entirely clear who constructed the original castle. Some claim it was Toyama Mitsukage (遠山光影), a vassal of the Hōjō, whose family were also castellans of Edo Castle, while others say it was the Ueda clan, the lords of Matsuyama Castle, retainers of the Ōgigayatsu Uesugi.

Ogura Castle was built in a strategic position that protected the nearby Kamakura Highway (鎌倉街道 Kamakura Kaidō) and was part of the Hōjō network of castles that defended the Kantō plain. The most unusual characteristic of this castle was its massive stone walls which were rarely used in castles in the Kantō Region.

It is most convenient to access the castle by car, driving through a forestry road on the south side. This is the entrance of the castle site:

ogura03-jpg.25114


The castle was renkaku style (連郭式 renkaku-shiki): honmaru and ninomaru are arranged side by side, causing the depth of the castle to increase, but thereby exposing the sides and rear of the honmaru. The castle was more vulnerable to attacks on areas other than the central gate.

renraku-png.25302

Renraku-style castle (Source)


ogura04-jpg.25115


This is the koguchi (虎口, an entrance of a castle which usually has elaborate devices to prevent enemies from invasion, literally the "mouth of the tiger"). It is hard to recognise on the photograph, but the earthwork on the left was the defence against enemies.

ogura05-jpg.25116


The elevated san-no-maru (三の丸, third or outer bailey).

ogura06-jpg.25117


The inner bailey (本丸 honmaru); although I thought it was not necessary to cut the trees, the cleared space allowed an excellent impression of how big the inner bailey once was.

ogura07-jpg.25118


The unique characteristic of the castle was its stone walls found in several places.

ogura08-jpg.25119


The koguchi on the northern side of the first enclosure.

ogura09-jpg.25120


Access Information
  • Address: Taguro, Tokigawa-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama Map
  • Transportation: 9km from Kanetsu Expwy Ranzan-Ogawa IC via National Route 254
  • Other sights: Sugaya Castle - Sugiyama Castle


Map:

About author
Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.

Comments

There are no comments to display.

Article information

Author
Hiroto Uehara
Views
2,535
Last update

More in Saitama

More from Hiroto Uehara

Top