Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kaminogo Castle -Castle surrounded by mandarin orange field-

Kaminogo Castle

-Castle surrounded by mandarin orange field-


Name: Kaminogo castle (Kaminogo-jyo)
Place: Kaminogocho Gamagori city, Aichi
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 15th century
Remaining remnants: Clay walls and moats 

Brief History

Kaninogo castle (上ノ郷城) is located at a small height at the north of Gamagori city, Aichi prefecture. Gamagori area is a small flat area faces Mikawawan bay, and connects Okazaki plain and Toyohashi plain, two large flat land at west half and east half of Mikawa province (east part of Aichi prefecture). Due to its geographical condition, it was necessary to capture Kaminogo castle for Matsudaira clan which located at Okazaki castle, to seize Toyohashi plain and unite whole Mikawa province.

Precise year is unknown but Kiminogo castle was built by Udono clan, a local lord of this area by the end of 15th century. Around 1530, Kiyoyasu Matsudaira (1511-1535), the grandfather of Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) who was the founder of Edo Shogunate, expanded his authority to whole Mikawa province and Udono clan once obeyed to Kiyoyasu. 

But after the assassination of Kiyohasu at Moriyama castle (Aichi prefecture) in 1535, Matsudaira clan rapidly lost their power and entered long severe time. Next to Kiyoyasu, Yoshimoto Imagawa (1519-1560), a warlord of Suruga province (middle part of Shizuoka prefecture) who already held Totomi province (western part of Shizuoka prefecture) advanced to Mikawa province, and Udono clan followed Yoshimoto. Udono clan married with the sister of Yoshimoto, and became the leader of Imagawa clan at Mikawa province. 

History of the lord

But in 1560, Yoshimoto Imagawa was defeated and died against Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), the warlord of Owari province (western part of Aichi prefecture) at the battle of Okehazama. Nagateru Udono (?-1562), the leader of Udono clan, guarded Odaka castle at the battle, but hearing the death of Yoshimoto Nagateru returned to Kaminogo castle. 

Nagateru kept his loyalty to Imagawa clan even after the death of Yoshimoto, but Ieyasu Tokugawa became independent from weakened Imagawa clan at Okazaki castle and started his action to unite Mikawa province. In 1562, Ieyasu attacked Kaminogo castle, and Nagateru bravely fought but at last died at this castle with his father. 

It is said that at the siege of this castle, Masashige Hattori (1542-1596, known as Hanzo Hattori and origin of the name of Hanzomon gate of Edo castle), a leader of Iga Ninja, assaulted this castle with Ninja troops and made achievement. Ujiteru’s son Ujinaga was captured by Ieyasu, and was used to hostage exchange with Ieyasu’s wife and son kept at Imagawa clan.

Structure and afterward of castle

Structure of Kaminogo castle is simple. Kaminogo castle spread a slope toward southward, and a long octagonal shaped central area stands at the top of the hill, and secondary area surrounds central area at south side. South side of central area is guarded by tall clay walls, and below the secondary area there might be several outer areas. Whole castle was separated by creeks and ponds, and they still partially remain around the castle. Total size of Kaminogo castle was about 200 meter long and 100 meter wide.

After the fall of Udono clan, Ieyasu placed Toshikatsu Hisamatsu (1526-1587), a stepfather of Ieyasu (next husband of Odai no Kata, the mother of Ieyasu). Hisamatsu clan kept this castle over 20 years, but when Tokugawa clan was transferred to Kanto region by Toyotomi government in 1590, Hisamatsu clan followed Ieyasu and Kaminogo castle might be abolished.

Now castle site is used for houses and mandarine orange field utilizing it condition of southward slope, but central area and secondary area still keeps its original shape well. Looking down on the Mikawawan bay ahead of mandarine orange field from the castle, the role of this castle as a gate between Okazaki area and Toyohashi area is reminded. Visitors are required to trace visitor’s route and, not to enter the mandarine orange farm itself.

Related Castles

Okazaki Castle -Hardship history of young Ieyasu Tokugawa-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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