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Wakasa-Onigajo Castle

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This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
The ruins of Wakasa-Oniga Castle (若桜鬼ヶ城 Wakasa Onigajō) are located in Wakasa Town, Yazu District, Tottori Prefecture.

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The castle sits on top of Mt. Tsuruo and overlooks the Wakasa Highway that linked Harima (modern-day Hyōgo Prefecture) and Tajima (nowadays Kyōto Prefecture) to Inaba in southeastern Tottori.

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The map is based on Digital Japan Portal Web Site powered by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.

The castle is thought to be constructed by the local Yabe clan (矢部氏) in the 13th century. The power of the Yamana clan (山名氏) who ruled Inaba Province as shugo (military governors) waned in the Sengoku Period, and the region was contested by other powerful local daimyō from the Amago and Mori clans.

Hashiba Hideyoshi (1537-1598), later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi, captured Inaba on behalf of Oda Nobunaga and put Kinoshita Shigekata (木下重堅, d. 1600) in charge of Wakasa-Oniga Castle. Shigekata renovated the castle and fortified its stone walls. As he had supported the defeated Western army in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), he was forced to commit suicide. In 1601, Yamazaki Iemori took over the Wakasa Domain, now a fief of 30,000 koku. When Iemori's son, Ieharu, was transferred to Bitchū Province in 1617 and Ikeda Mitsumasa took over Tottori Castle, Wakasa-Oniga Castle was finally abandoned under the Ikkoku Ichijo Rei, the policy of only one castle per province.

In 2008, the castle was designated a Historic Sites of Japan. In April 2017, the castle was added to "100 More Fine Castles" of Japan (続日本100名城).

After I had gathered information at the tourist information centre close to Wakasa Station, I visited the castle by car. It seemed that there was a road to the castle right from the centre of the town, but I took another path that turned out to be a forest road.

I parked the car at the dead end of the forest road and approached the castle crossing a horseriding ground.

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I expected the stone walls to be demolished but found them in a surprisingly good condition.

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Close to the honmaru (the inner bailey), with the base of a turret visible in a corner.

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A beautiful view of Wakasa town, as seen from the honmaru.

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Wakasa was a post town, and the streets are still lined with old buildings and storehouses.

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This time I encountered a giant slug, about 15cm in length!

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Tottori is the home prefecture of Mizuki Shigeru, one of the most famous manga authors of Japan who is known for his monster-like characters and whose hometown is full of monster statues. As expected in the "Monster Kingdom" of Tottori even normal creatures are different in scale.

Date of visit: 13th of July, 2013

Access Information
  • Address: Wakasa, Wakasa-chō, Yazu-gun, Tottori (Map)
  • Transportation: (To parking space)
    From Wakasa railways Wakasa station on foot
    25km from Tottori Expwy Kawahara IC via National Route 29
  • Other sights: Wakasa-machi Walking map (Japanese: Wakasa-machi Sightseeing Affair HP)


Map:

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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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