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Tenjinyama Castle (Tottori)

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This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Tenjinyama Castle was a stronghold of the Inaba Yamana clan. It was also known as Fuse-Tenjinyama Castle (布勢天神山城 Fuse-tenjinyamajō). The notion that Yamana Katsutoyo (山名勝豊), the fifth shugo (military governor) of Inaba, constructed the castle in 1466 seems unlikely, given that Katsutoyo died in 1459. The castle was first documented in 1513 when historical sources mention Yamana Toyouji (山名豊氏) as its builder.

The castle is located on a hillside at Koyama Pond (more a lake than a pond), about five kilometres west from the centre of Tottori City. Nowadays, it is located right behind the building of Tottori Ryokufu High School.

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The map is based on Google Earth. *the location of enclosures or others are my speculation, so they may not be correct.

It was difficult to locate the castle without clear directions and landmarks. If you drive down the slope south from Tottori University along Prefectural Route 264, you should turn left as soon as you see the hill left hand.

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Remains of the original enclosure.

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The structure felt more like a hill mansion than a castle. The castle and the hills nearby were surrounded by moats. The moats measured some 2.6km in length and connected to Koyama Pond.

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The modest defences were typical for the early Sengoku Period. In 1563, Takeda Takanobu (武田高信, 1529-1573) of the Inaba Takeda clan, rebelled against the Yamana and took Tottori Castle. Tenjinyama Castle was abandoned when shugo Yamana Toyokazu (山名豊数) retreated. Later, in 1573, Takeda Takanobu suffered a crushing defeat against Yamana Toyokuni (山名豊国, 1548-1626) who moved his headquarters and the three-storied donjon from Tenjinyama to his new stronghold at Tottori Castle.

Koyama Pond seen from the castle.

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Date of visit: 14th July 2013


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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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