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Castle Takiyama Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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Takiyama Castle (滝山城 Takiyamajō) is located on a long and narrow river terrace between the Tama River (多摩川) and the Yaji River (谷地川), five kilometres north of modern-day Hachiōji Station.


Although its relative altitude was only around 40 metres, the skilful arrangement of enclosures utilised valleys carved in length and breadth of the hill was unique. It made the castle one of the most impregnable fortresses in the Kantō region.


The map is based on the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.

Takiyama Castle was constructed by Ōishi Sadashige (大石定重, 1467-1527), a shugodai (守護代, deputy military governor) of Musashi Province, in 1521. The Ōishi were powerful retainers of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi, but when their star faded, Ōishi Sadahisa adopted Hōjō Ujiteru, the son of Ujiyasu, thus effectively bringing the area under Hōjō control. Ujiteru expanded and reinforced the castle significantly. Thanks to him, it withstood vicious attacks by Uesugi Kenshin and, in particular, Takeda Shingen's attack in 1569, which was so fierce that the castle almost fell. In the 1580s, however, Ujiteru moved his base to Hachiōji Castle, an even stronger fortification. Nowadays, the former castle grounds make up Takiyama Park.

I went to Takiyama Castle by bus from JR Hachiōji Station. The bus went north from the station and followed the river terrace of the Tama River.

① The entrance to the castle site is close to "Takiyama Jōshi Shita (滝山城跡下)" bus stop if you go by car, mind that there is no official parking lot around the park.


Can you see the S-shaped path in the picture below? This prevented enemies from approaching the castle head-on. Takiyama Castle had many elaborate structures and obstacles like this.


② Senjo-jiki (千畳敷, the open space)


The bank on the right side was umadashi (馬出, a small fort in front of the entrance built to increase the defences, literally a "horse gateway"), which lay at the entrance of Senjo-jiki.


It is difficult to find in this photograph, but both ends of this enclosure were narrow earth bridges, so to the enemy looked like a dead-end. Therefore, it was called the "dead-end enclosure".


③ A trench in the south of the central enclosure.


④ The site of the central enclosure (中の丸).


Tama River as seen from the centre enclosure.


⑤ Below, Hikihashi Bridge which connected the main and the central enclosure. The photo below was taken looking up the bridge from the bottom. It clearly shows a deep valley between two enclosures.


This was the hook-shaped koguchi (虎口, an entrance of a castle which usually has elaborate devices to prevent enemies from breaching, literally the "mouth of the tiger") at the entrance to the main enclosure.


⑥ The main enclosure (本丸) with Kasumi Shrine at one corner.


⑦ The former Benten Pond turned into an open space in a sunken field.


Date of visit: 1 September 2013

Access Information

  • Address: Takatsuki-cho, Hachiōji-shi, Tōkyō
  • Transportation: From JR Chūō Line Hachiōji Station or Keiō Line Keiō-Hachiōji Station, getting on Nishi Tōkyō Bus bound for "Tobuki" and getting off "Takiyama Joshishita" bus stop
    4 kilometres from Chūō Expressway Hachiōji IC via National Route 411
  • Website: official Hachioji travel guide
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Suemori 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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