Sunday, July 1, 2018

Takiyama Castle (Settsu) -Castle of two talented generals later fought each other-

Takiyama Castle (Settsu)

-Castle of two talented generals later fought each other-



Name: Takiyama castle (Takiyama-jo)
Place: Fukiai-cho Chuo-ku Kobe city, Hyogo
Location: 34.70924875258148, 135.18784343388882
Type: Mountain Castle
Built: 14th century
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, clay walls and dry moats 

Brief History

Takiyama castle (滝山城) is built over Shiroyama mountain, one of about 300 meter height from hillside just at the north of Shin-Kobe station of Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train. Shinkansen line emerges to the ground at Shin-Kobe station utilizing the valley of Ikuta-gawa river, and Shiroyama mountain is a seer one encircled by this valley.

Castle site is the place where main body of Rokko mountains spreads over the north of Kobe city central ends by the valley of Ikuta-gawa river, which runs across mountains and formerly flows toward southwest along current Flower Road. In addition to the steep slopes of mountain which brings security and good scenery to the castle, this site could control the traffic of mountainous and coastal roads toward west.

Origin of Takiyama castle

Precise year is unknown but Takiyama castle might be built in the former half of 14th century by Norimura Akamatsu (1277-1350), the local lord of Harima province who activated at the fall of Kamakura Shogunate in 1333. At that year Norimura raised his army at Harima province under the order of Emperor Godaigo (1288-1339), and marched toward east to attack Rokuhara Tandai, a representative office of Kamakura Shogunate in Kyoto city.

As Kamakura Shogunate still had overwhelming soldiers, Norimura built Takiyama castle as a front fort to intercept Kamakura Shogunate army. Norimura broke the enemy in Rokko mountains and proceeded to Kyoto city, and once suffered defeat but finally broke Shogunate army at the battle of Kuganawate then fell Rokuhara Tandai along with Takauji Ashikaga (1305-1358), the vice commander of Shogunate army but turned to Emperor Godaigo.

Under Muromachi Shogunate built by Takauji Ashikaga, at first Akamatsu clan served as the governor of Settsu province and Harima province at the both side of Rokko mountains. But later the governor of Settsu province was changed to Hosokawa clan, the relative of Shogunate. At this point Takiyama castle was kept by Akamatsu clan as a border castle.

Temporal disuse of castle

However in 1441, Akamatsu clan assassinated sixth Shogun Yoshinori Ashikaga (1394-1441) who proceeded monopoly and tried to decrease the power of Akamatsu clan. Akamatsu clan was once ruined by subjugation of Shogunate army, and later restored but lost eastern part of Harima province. At this point Takiyama castle might be once abolished.

After the battle of Onin occurred at Kyoto city from 1467 to 1477, Hosokawa clan once seized the authority of Muromachi Shogunate but soon collapsed by internal conflicts. Utilizing this opportunity, Miyoshi clan which was originally a small lord at most inland area of Awa province (Tokushima prefecture) gradually grew their power.

Miyoshi clan was an important retainer of Awa family of Hosokawa clan, one participant of internal conflict of Hosokawa clan. Miyoshi army landed to Kyoto area and fought with other participants of Hosokawa clan or surrounding powers, and losing two leaders, at the time of Nagayoshi Miyoshi (1522-1564) it became the ruler of central area.

Reuse by Miyoshi clan

Nagayoshi captured the western part of Settsu province and placed his main base at Koshimizu castle at current Nishinomiya castle. At this point Miyoshi army is connected to their main territory Awa province by Kobe port and Awaji island, and to protect this corridor Takiyama castle might be reused by Miyoshi clan.

Being supported by stable territory and strong military power, Nagayoshi broke his rivals such as Nagamasa Kizawa (1493-1542) or Masanaga Miyoshi (1508-1549). Finally Nagayoshi broke with his master Harumoto Hosokawa (1514-1563) who forced Motonaga Miyoshi (1501-1532), father of Nagayoshi, to die.

In 1548, Nagayoshi broke alliance of Harumoto Hosokawa and Rokkaku clan, and then expelled 13th Shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga (1536-1565) who belonged to Harumoto Hosokawa from Kyoto city. At this point Miyoshi clan held vast territory around Kinki region and virtually established their own government.

Miyoshi clan held many castles around their vast territory, and renovated three castles with latest technologies such as stone walls. Akutagawasan castle (Osaka prefecture) at current Takatsuki city faced Kyoto city, the place of Shogun which hostile to Miyoshi clan and its supporter Rokkaku clan. Iimoriyama castle (Osaka prefecture) at Shijonawate city was a main base of Nagayoshi which controlled Sakai city and Kawachi province, the economic resource of Miyoshi clan, and Takiyama castle which connected Kinki region and their main territory Awa province.

Structure of Takiyama castle

Takiyama castle was also renovated by Hisahide Matsunaga (1508-1577), a general good at scheming and rapidly promoted under Nagayoshi. Hisahide stayed at Takiyama castle and advanced into Tanba province (western part of Kyoto prefecture) along with his elder brother Nagayori Matsunaga (?-1565). Takiyama castle was expanded as a western border fortress of Miyoshi clan and castle of major general of the clan.

Takiyama castle roughly consist of eastern peak and western peak. Eastern peak might be the original castle of Akamatsu clan, which has many small terraces spreads from hilltop to hillside. At the halfway there is a large terrace with low stone wall, and there might be watching tower or temple building.

The saddle point between two peaks is the main gate of castle. This area has shaped terraces with stone walls, and ruins of the gate clearly remain at each area. As a valley at northward of this area is thought as approach route of enemy to divide the castle, this part is securely protected by line of stone walls.

Western peak is the main part at Miyoshi period, having wider terraces and having advanced defense lines such as folded road. Peak of the mountain is a small terrace which might have watching tower, and large area just below of the peak might be the main area of the castle. Westward of western peak connecting to backside mountain is separated by deep dry moat of over 20 meter depth.

Change of commander 

In 1560, Hisahide Matsunaga was appointed as the general of Yamato province (Nara prefecture) and moved to Shigisan castle (Nara prefecture). Later Hisahide was known for the development of castle construction, and this might be started at Takiyama castle. After the move of Hisahide, Takiyama castle might be managed by Matsunaga army.

The hegemony of Miyoshi clan did not long 10 years. Younger brothers of Nagayoshi Miyoshi were lost in the battle or accident after 1560, and finally Nagayoshi died in ill in 1564. As the successor of Nagayoshi was still a child, Miyoshi clan was managed by alliance of relatives and important retainers such as Hisahide Matsunaga or Nagafusa Shinohara (?-1573).

However, soon there arouse internal conflict between Hisahide Matsunaga, and trio of other retainers called as Miyoshi Sanninshu. At this battle, Nagafusa Shinohara who kept Awa province landed to Kobe area and captured Koshimizu castle and Takiyama castle from Matsunaga army, then Nagafusa used Takiyama castle as his military base.

Fall of Miyoshi clan

Nagafusa Shinohara was originally an important retainer of Jikkyu Miyoshi (1527-1562), a younger brother of Nagayoshi Miyoshi who ruled Awa province, the main territory of Miyoshi clan. Jikkyu activated at many battles under his elder brother and Nagafusa supported it, but was shut by gunfire and died in the battle of Kumeda in 1562.

Nagafusa supported Nagaharu Miyoshi (1553-1577), the son of Jikkyu, under the turbulent situation after the death of Nagayoshi Miyoshi. Nagafusa enacted “Shin Kasei Shiki”, the house rule of Miyoshi clan for administration, and took advantage at the battle against Hisahide Matsunaga. Losing his masters, Nagafusa desperately worked for the survival of Miyoshi clan.

Among such confusion, Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), the warlord of Owari province (western half of Aichi prefecture) and seized Mino province (Gifu prefecture), marched to Kyoto city to establish his government in 1568. Hisahide Matsunaga surrendered to Nobunaga and became his retainer, and then Miyoshi clan also lost power in internal conflicts could not prevent then retreated to Shikoku island. At this time Nagafusa disposed Takiyama castle, and Nobunaga built his own government.

Tragic end of loyal general

However, Nagafusa and other retainers of Miyoshi clan showed the backbone and landed to Osaka area next year. As Nobunaga had to face with other enemies such as Asakura clan or Ikko Ikki army, Miyoshi army recovered Settsu province and Kawachi province (Osaka prefecture). Furthermore, Nagafusa shows his presence by intervening the conflict between Koremasa Wada (1530-1571) and Murashige Araki (1535-1586).

Besides in 1571, Nagafusa lead the navy of Sanuki province and landed to Motobuto castle of Bizen province (current Okayama prefecture). Miyoshi nave broke Murakami navy which dominated Seto-Naikai sea and later distressed Oda navy, and captured the castle from Mouri clan cooperating with Uragami clan. Nagafusa was exactly a main pillar of Miyoshi clan and recorded so by Catholic missionary stayed in Japan.

But his talent and power evoked fear of his master and antipathy of other retainers. In 1573, Nagafusa broke with his younger brother Jiton Shinohara (?-?), and because of false accusation of Nagafusa, Nagaharu Miyoshi attacked Uezakura castle (Tokushima prefecture) , the residence of Nagafusa. Nagafusa died after harsh battle, remaining predict that Miyoshi clan lost the territory in five year.

After the end of everything

After the death of Nagafusa, Miyoshi clan significant lost its power and faced the invasion of Chosokabe clan which united Tosa province (Kochi prefecture) and aimed the unite of Shikoku island. In 1576, Nagaharu fought with alliance of Hosokawa clan and Chosokabe clan and died in the battle, as predicted by Nagafusa. 

On the other hand, Hisahide Matsunaga who left Miyoshi clan also raised his army against Nobunaga Oda, and killed himself at his main base Shigisan castle being surrounded by overwhelming army of Oda clan. Two talented retainers the one supported and another opposed to Miyoshi clan both left along with their lord.

After the fall of Miyoshi clan, Takiyama castle might be used as a branch castle of Hanakuma castle built at neighbor place by Murashige Araki who became the commander of Settsu province under Nobunaga Oda. But at the revolt of Murashige against Nobunaga in 1578, Araki clan disposed Takiyama castle then was abolished then stones are brought to the construction of Hyogo castle.

Now all building was lost but structure of castle well remain on the mountain, along with slightly remaining stone walls. Because of good access from Nunobiki no Taki fall and panoramic scenery of Kobe port, castle site is used as a convenient hiking course of residents. Even though going different ways, both of Hisahide and Nagafusa might regret too fast collapse of Miyoshi clan looking eastward where the hegemony of Miyoshi clan from Takiyama castle.


10 minutes walk from JR West Sanyo-Shinkansen line Shin-Kobe station to entrance of climbing road. 30 minutes walk from entrance of climbing road to hilltop castle. 10  minutes drive from Hanshin-Kosoku Expressway Ikutagawa interchange.

Related Castles

Akutagawasan Castle -Prototype of pre-modern regime (2) struggle with old powers-
Shigisan Castle -The most notorious bandit in Sengoku era-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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