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Travel Ogura Castle

By Hiroto Uehara, Aug 23, 2017 | |
  1. Hiroto Uehara
    ogura01.jpg

    Ogura Castle (小倉城) is a Sengoku-era hilltop castle located in Tokigawa Town, Saitama Prefecture. It stretched over three mountain ridges and was situated just 600 meters from the Tsuki River, forming a natural stronghold that allowed to monitor the traffic on the river. It was fortified with elaborate stonewalls, an unusual feat for most Sengoku castles in the Chichibu region.

    ogura02.jpg
    The map is based on Google Earth. The location of the enclosures may not be completely accurate.

    It is not quite clear who constructed the original castle. Some claim it was Toyama Mitsukage (遠山光影), a vassal of the Hōjō, whose family were also castelans of Edo Castle, while others say it was the Ueda clan, the lords of Matsuyama Castle, retainers of the Ōgigayatsu Uesugi.

    Ogura Castle was built in a strategic position that protected the nearby Kamakura Highway (鎌倉街道 Kamakura Kaidō) and was part of the Hōjō network of castles that defended the Kantō plain. The most unusual characteristic of this castle were its massive stone walls which were rarely used in castles in the Kantō Region.

    It is most convenient to access the castle by car, driving through a forestry road on the south side. This is the entrance of the castle site:

    ogura03.jpg

    The castle was renkaku style (連郭式 renkaku-shiki): honmaru and ninomaru are arranged side by side, causing the depth of the castle to increase, but thereby exposing the sides and rear of the honmaru. The castle was more vulnerable to attacks on areas other than the central gate.

    renraku.png
    Renraku-style castle (Source)


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    This is the koguchi (虎口, an entrance of a castle which usually has elaborate devices to prevent enemies from invasion, literally the "mouth of tiger"). It is hard to recognize on the photograph, but the earthwork on the left was the defense against enemies.

    ogura05.jpg

    The elevated san-no-maru (三の丸, third or outer bailey).

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    The inner bailey (本丸 honmaru); although I thought it was not necessary to cut the trees, the cleared space allowed a good impression of how big the inner bailey once was.

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    The most unique characteristic of the castle were its stone walls found in several places.

    ogura08.jpg

    The koguchi on the northern side of the first enclosure.

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    Access Information
    • Address: Taguro, Tokigawa-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama  Map
    • Transportation: 9km from Kanetsu Expwy Ranzan-Ogawa IC via National Route 254
    • Other sights: Sugaya Castle - Sugiyama Castle


    Map:

    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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