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Castle Yogai Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Yōgai Castle, also known as Yōgaiyama Castle (要害山城 Yōgaiyama-jō), is a Sengoku-era hilltop castle built in the former province of Kai (modern-day Yamanashi Prefecture).


The castle was constructed in 1520 by Takeda Nobutora (武田 信虎, 1494-1574) as a "castle of last refuge," in contrast to Tsutsujigasaki Residence which served as a representative mansion and headquarters. It was used by the famous three generations of the Takeda, Nobutora, Shingen and Katsuyori. Mount Yōgai was fortified with wooden defences and earthworks from its mid-section to the top of the hill. The main enclosure also housed a watchtower. The residences of the samurai who served at the castle were at the foot of the mountain, in a place called Negoya (根古屋).

In October 1521, Takeda Nobutora defeated an Imagawa army under Fukushima Masanari in the Battle of Iidagawara. The Imagawa, the rulers of the neighbouring province of Suruga, supported the rebellion of the Ōi clan against the Takeda but were utterly routed. Nobutora's wife, the daughter of Ōi Nobusato, gave birth to Harunobu, later known as Takeda Shingen, at Yōgaiyama Castle. Shingen's son, Katsuyori, had the castle fortified in 1576.

After the demise of the Takeda clan, various vassals of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi controlled the castle which was abandoned after the Battle of Sekigahara (1600). In 1991, Yōgaiyama Castle was designated a National Historic Site although very few remnants remain.


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

I visited from Tsutsujigasaki Residence, looking for a hotel called "Shakusuiji Spa Yōgai". I had been climbing up the slope under the blazing sun for 40 minutes before arriving at the "Yōgai". And the site of the castle on Mount Yōgai was right behind the hotel.

Soon after I began to climb the mountain, I found a stone wall.


Closer to the hilltop were some remains of the former enclosures.




it took me about 30 minutes to reach the main enclosure on the mountaintop.


Yōgai Castle is said to be the birthplace of Takeda Shingen.


After exploring the former castle site, I bathed and ate lunch at the Yōgai Hotel.

Date of visit: 17 August 2013


  • Address: Kamisekisuiji-cho, Kōfu-shi, Yamanashi 400-0011
  • Transportation: to the entrance, 11 kilometres from Chuo Expressway Kōfu-Showa IC via Prefectural Route 31
  • Other sights: Tsutsujigasaki Residence
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About author
Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.


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