Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hida Takayama Castle -Castle of short life in beautiful town-

Hida Takayama Castle

-Castle of short life in a beautiful town-



Name: Hida Takayama (Hida Takayama-jo)
Place: Shiroyama Takayama city, Gifu
Type: Hill castle
Built: 1585
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, clay wall, moats, gate (moved) and hall buildings (moved)

Brief History

Hida Takayama castle (飛騨高山城) is located on Shiroyama mountain, in the east part of Takayama city.

In medieval era, Hida province (north eastern part of Gifu prefecture) was nominally governed by Anegakoji clan, a central noble, but actually divided by several small local lords such as Miki clan or Ema clan. Being surrounded by strong warlords such as Takeda clan, Uesugi clan or Oda clan, these local lords changed their master based on circumstance.

Among these local lords, Yoritsuna Miki (1540-1587) who was the lord of south half of the province gradually grew his power under cooperation with central ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582). After the death of his supporter Nobunaga at the incident of Honnoji in 1582, alliance of opponent local lords lead by Ema clan made decisive fight to Yoritsuna, but Yoritsuna broke them at the battle of Yokamachi and united Hida province.

Yoritsuna newly built his new main base Hida Matsukura Castle, a modern castle held stone walls, as a leader of Hida province. But at the internal conflict of Oda clan for the successor of Nobunaga, Yoritsuna supported Narimasa Sasa (1536?-1588), the enemy of next ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598). As a result, Miki clan was attacked together with Narimasa by overwhelming Toyotomi army and ruined.

After the fall of Miki clan, Nagachika Kanamori (1524-1608), a general of Echizen Ono castle and who actually attacked Miki clan, became the next governor of Hida province. In 1588 Nagachika started to build a new castle on current Shiroyama mountain, completed it before 1600 and named Takayama castle.

This new castle was not so large but elegant, built in traditional style with low main tower apart from fashion of the time. Nagachika was also a good governor and built a basis of current Takayama city.

Reign of Kanamori clan continued about 100 years, but in 1692, Kanamori clan was suddenly transferred to Kaminoyama castle of Dewa province (Yamagata prefecture) by Edo shogunate. It is said that the shogunate intended to manage minerals and woods produced in this area. The governor of Shogunate totally destroyed this castle, and built a new government office at the foot of the mountain.

Currently the shape of areas remain with only a little part of stone walls, but several buildings were transferred to neighbor temples at the time of abolition and still remain. Local government office of shogunate still remains almost in original style, called as Takayama-jinya.


30 minutes walk from JR Central Takayama-Honsen line Takayama station. 30 minutes drive from Tokai-Hokuriku Jidoshado Expressway Hida-Kiyomi interchange.

Related Castles

Hida Matsukura Castle -Short glory of Miki clan-
Echizen Ono Castle -Old fashioned stone wall looking at traditional town-
Kaminoyama Castle -Another campaign in Eastern Japan (2) miscalculation-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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