Saturday, March 1, 2014

Yoshida castle -Huge castle of incompletion on Tokaido road-

Yoshida castle

-Huge castle of incompletion at Tokaido road-



Name: Yoshida castle (Yoshida-jo)
Alias: Imahashi-jo (Imahashi-castle)
Place: Imahashi Toyohashi city, Aichi
Type: Flat castle
Built: Originally beginning of 16th century, expanded in 1590's
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, clay walls and moats

Brief History

Yoshida castle (吉田城) is located on a terrace of Toyokawa river, at the center of Toyohashi city, Toyohashi city is a center of east half of Mikawa province (eastern Aichi prefecture), connecting Tokaido way, road to Shinano country(Nagano prefecture), Toyokawa river and marine transport in Isewan gulf. Toyohashi city was also a posting town of Tokaido.

Original build and Tokugawa period

Originally Makino clan, a small local lord built a castle named Imahashi castle on this site in the beginning of 16th century. Temporary this castle belonged to Kiyoyasu Matsudaira (1511-1535), a grandfather of Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), but in the middle of 16th century Yoshimoto Imagawa (1519-1560), a warlord of Suruga provinceand Totomi province(both Shizuoka prefecture) captured this castle and used as a basis of dominating Mikawa province.

In 1560, Yoshimoto was defeated and killed at the battle of Okehazama against Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), a warlord of Owari province (western Aichi prefecture). Ieyasu Tokugawa who was subordinate of Imagawa clan became independent and aimed at the unification of Mikawa country. On 1565, Ieyasu expelled Imagawa general from this castle, and united all part of Mikawa province. 

After occupation of Totomi province (western part of Shizuoka prefectuer) and movement to Hamamatsu castle (Shizuoka prefecture)around 1570, Ieyasu appointed Tadatsugu Sakai (1527-1596), a most important retainer of Ieyasu, as a connecting point of Okazaki castle (Aichi prefecture) and Hamamatsu castle.

Expansion under Terumasa Ikeda

After Ieyasu was transferred to Kanto region by the current ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) at 1590, Terumasa Ikeda (1565-1613), a son of Tsuneoki Ikeda (1536-1584) was appointed as a commander of this castle. Tsuneoki Ikeda was a foster brother and old retainer of Nobunaga Oda, and after the death of Nobunaga in the accident of Honnoji temple at 1582, Tsuneoki supported the succession of power by Hideyoshi. As Tsuneoki died in the battle of Komaki Nagakute between Hideyoshi and Ieyasu in 1584, Hideyoshi gave favorable treatment to Terumasa and gave him a large territory.

Terumasa significantly expanded this castle as a residence of large lord. Yoshida castle after expansion consist of three layer of areas located as concentric circle. Central area is a square shaped area of 200 meter long, and at the north west corner there was a three story turret named "Kurogane Yagura" (Steel turret) used as a substitute of main tower. 

As north side of central area directly faced Toyokawa river, wall of this side were securely guarded by two layers of stone walls. At the front side there was a large composite gate also guarded by stone walls, and at the middle of east wall there was a backside gate. Secondary area and third area surrounded central area, and size of third area was 1 kilometer long and 500 meter width.  

Hideyoshi located his old or close generals along the Tokaido way to obstacle Ieyasu's attack from Kanto region, but after Hideyoshi's death, all of these retainers along Tokaido way including Terumasa supported Ieyasu (for Terumasa, Ieyasu was a for of his father), and made way for him. After the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Terumasa moved to Harima province (Hyogo prefecture) with larger territory and built a famous Himeji castle. At the point of transfer, only central area was completed and outer areas were untouched.

Throughout Edo era, Edo Shogunate appointed its hereditary lords as a commander of this castle. But they had only small territory thus not only they could not complete the construction but also it was difficult to keep whole part of castle. 

Subsequent to Meiji revolution all buildings were lost and the site of castle was used a military base of Japanese army. After WW2 inner areas are used as Toyohashi Koen park, and in 1954, an imitation of Kurogane turret, a three story turret used as a substitute of main tower, was reconstructed.


10 minutes walk from Toyohashi City Tram Toyohashi-Koenmae station. 30 minutes drive from Tomei Expressway Toyokawa interchange to parking of Toyohashi Koen park.

Related Castles

Okazaki Castle -Hardship history of young Ieyasu Tokugawa-
Hamamatsu Castle -Castle of promotion-
Himeji Castle -Castle of Kanbe and Hideyoshi-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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