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Castle Yamazaki Castle

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Yamazaki Castle (山崎城 Yamazaki-jō) was a Japanese mountain castle located in Aza Ōyamazaki, Ōyamazaki Town, Otokuni-gun, Kyōto Prefecture, Japan. After the Battle of Yamazaki, it was the residence of Toyotomi Hideyoshi until he constructed Ōsaka Castle. It was also known as 'Tennozan Houji Castle' (天王山宝寺城) or 'Tennozan Castle' (天王山城).

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


The importance of the castle is clear from the topographical map. It is situated right at the entrance to the Kyōto plain, with mountains jutting out on both sides towards the river. To travel between Kyōto and the western part of the country, one had to pass through this area. Even today, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, JR Tōkaidō Main Line, Hankyu Kyōto Line, Meishin Expressway and other major transportation routes between Kyōto and Ōsaka pass through this narrow area.


Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)

Based on the Aerial Photograph Service of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

On its northern side, Tennozan is some 270 metres high; it was named after the Sakatoke Shrine (酒解神社) built near its summit, dedicated to Gozu Tennō (牛頭天王, lit. "Ox-Headed Heavenly King"), a syncretic Japanese deity of disease and healing. Due to its strategic importance, a castle was built there from the time of the Ōnin War (1467-77), and frequent battles were fought around the fortress.

The best-known Battle of Yamazaki took place at the foot of Mount Tennō in June 1582. Akechi Mitsuhide , who was to intercept Hashiba (later Toyotomi) Hideyoshi, perhaps surprised by the speed of Hideyoshi's advance, did not have any troops on Mount Tennō. Akechi's forces, inferior in size to Hideyoshi's were pinned down at an important tactical stronghold and were eventually defeated.

In the following July, Hideyoshi rebuilt Yamazaki Castle on the summit of the mountain and developed the castle town. Hideyoshi organised tea ceremonies in Ōyamazaki with Sen no Rikyū and others. Yamazaki Castle was abandoned in 1584 when the construction of the Ōsaka Castle was begun.

Today, the castle tower, kuruwa (castle compounds), earthworks, empty moat, etc., remain near the summit. In addition to the ruins of the castle, Tennōzan is also dotted with numerous historic shrines and temples, which can be visited on the way to the summit.


Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)

Taken from the Geographical Survey Institute's Geographical Survey Institute maps. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


① Castle gate (登城口)
Cross the Tōkaidō Main Line level crossing and you will find the entrance to the castle. The path up the castle is well maintained, but the gradient is quite steep as it climbs in a straight line without meandering.

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)



② Hoshakuji Temple (宝積寺)
After 10 minutes of climbing, you arrive at Hōshakuji Temple, a temple with a long history, built in 724. It has valuable facilities such as a Niō statue and a three-storey pagoda, which are designated as important cultural assets.

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)



Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)



③ Aokibatani Area (青木葉谷広場)
After another 10 minutes or so of climbing, you arrive at Aokibadani Square. The area offers a good view of Ōsaka.

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


④ Hatatatematsu Observatory (旗立松展望台)
The main battlefield of the Battle of Yamazaki can be seen (near the highway overpass).


Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


⑤ Sakatoke Shrine (酒解神社)
The mikoshi treasury of the Sakatoke Shrine is located just before the summit of the mountain. It is a simple structure but is designated an important cultural asset because it was built in the Kamakura Period .


Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


⑥ Ruins of Yamazaki Castle (山崎城跡)
Then, they arrived at the summit. It took less than an hour to walk from the ascent entrance, taking photographs. Ruins of the main castle. At the back is the keep.

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


On the west side of the honmaru (本丸) is a larger space.

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


An enclosure north of the honmaru.

Yamazaki Castle (山崎城)


Date of visit: 30 December 2013


Access:

  • Address: Ōyamazaki Tennozan, Ōyamazaki Town, Otokuni-gun, Kyōto 618-0071
  • Access: to the castle entrance a 3-minute walk from Yamazaki Station on the JR Tōkaidō Honsen Line and Ōyamazaki Station on the Hankyu Kyōto Line.
    5 kilometres from Ōyamazaki Interchange of Meishin Expressway via Prefectural Road 67.
  • Parking: Town car park (at point 'P' on the map above)
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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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〒618-0071 京都府乙訓郡大山崎町銭原1番地

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