Monday, March 31, 2014

Ori Castle -Abandoned castle under construction lies in mountains-

Ori Castle

-Abandoned castle under construction lies in mountains-



Name: Ori castle (Ori-jyo)
Alias: Ori Siroyama-jyo 
Place: Inazu town Mizunami city, Gifu
Type: Mountain castle
Built: 16th century
Remaining remnants: Stone walls and clay walls

Brief History

Ori castle (小里城) is located on Shiroyama mountain placed in Inazu town, Mizunami city. Mizunami city is the east end of Nobi plain, and this area is an entrance to eastern part of Mino country (Gifu prefecture), such as Nakatsugawa city or Ena city.

Ori castle was built by Mitsutada Ori (?-?). Ori clan was a local lord stem from Toki clan, but once expelled from their land and wandered. Mitsutada recovered their land in 1536 and built a new castle on the mountain.  

Construction and cancellation of castle

In the latter half of 16th century, it was a time of turbulence for eastern part of Mino country surrounded by two large powers, Shingen Takeda (1521-1573), a warlord of Kai country (Yamanashi prefecture) who occupied Shinano country (Nagano prefecture), and Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), a warlord of Owari country (Aichi prefecture) and seized western part of Mino beating former governor Saito clan. At first Ori clan belonged to Takeda clan, but once Oda clan expanded to middle part of Mino country, Mitsutada Ori (?-1572), current leader of Ori clan, subordinated to Oda clan.

But in 1572, the relationship between Nobunaga and Shingen was broken, and Takeda clan started to conquer eastern part of Mino country. This year Iwamura castle located in the east of this castle was captured by Torashige Akiyama (1527-1575, known as Nobutomo), and Mitsutada died in the battle with Torashige. Shingen died due to ill in 1573, but his successor Katsuyori Takeda (1546-1582) continued to attack to Oda territory. In 1574, Katusyori occupied 18 castles such as Akechi castle, and seized most part of eastern area of Mino country. 

Facing this situation, Nobunaga needed another defense base to hold back penetration of Takeda army into middle area of Mino country. Nobunaga ordered Mitsuaki Ori (?-1582), son of Mitsutada, to reform and expand his castle in 1574. Mitsutada processed the construction, but in 1575 Oda clan gave a fatal defeat to Takeda clan at the battle of Nagashino, and shortly thereafter, also recovered Iwamura castle. Now that there is no necessity of reforming this castle any more, and construction was cancelled.

At the point of cancellation, basement of main tower was completed and stonewalls surrounding central areas were under construction. Basement of main tower is a scalene polygon shape, and based on its size, a small main tower of two or three story might be planned. In central area, there remains many large stones prepared for building, and some stones were graved by chisel to cut and shape.


Afterward of castle

After many complications Ori clan became a small lord of this area under Edo shogunate, and they built their government office at the foot of the mountain. But they extinguished in 20 years due to having no successor, thus their government office was also abandoned. Now stone walls both at the top of mountain and government office area at the foot of the mountain well remain, and tell us the history of small lord till now.

Related Castles

Iwamura Castle -Castle of tragic female commander-

Pictures (click to enlarge)