Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fukuchiyama Castle- Time to treason (10) rule of Tanba province-

Fukuchiyama Castle

-Time to treason (10) rule of Tanba province-



Name: Fukuchiyama castle /Fukutiyama castle (Fukuchiyama-jo / Fukutiyama-jo)
Place: Naiki-cho Fukuchiyama city, Kyoto
Location: 35.29693331622467, 135.1295493747754
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 1579
Remaining remnants: Barrack, stone walls and moats 
Title: 100 more famous Japanese castles

Brief History

Continued from Part 9

Fukuchiyama castle (福知山城) is located over Yokoyama hills, one of peninsular like hills spreads from surrounding hills of Fukuchiyama basin toward Yura-gawa river. Fukuchiyama basin stands middle part of current Kyoto prefecture and consists of four major basin of Tanba province (east part of Hyogo prefecture and west part of Kyoto prefecture) along with Kameoka basin, Sasayama basin and Hikami basin.

Fukuchiyama basin is a meeting point of Yura-gawa river and its tributaries Hashi-gawa or Maki-gawa. In this hilly area, major old road run along with the rivers and crossed minimum hills then moved to other rivers. The stream of Yura-gawa river and upstream of Maki-gawa river was the route of Sanindo road, which starts from capital Kyoto city toward Sanin region.

On the other hand, downstream of Yura-gawa river and Hashi-gawa river were roads toward Maizuru area, and Sanyo region through Hikami basin and Sasayama basin. Because of this geographical condition, Fukuchiyama city had been the center of communication between Kyoto city and Sanin region, and still has many major roads and railroads run through the city.

Origin of Fukuchiyama castle

Fukuchiyama castle was built in 1579, by Mitsuhide Akechi (1528-1582) who was the general of central ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) and just captured Tanba province including Fukuchiyama basin at that year. Before that Fukuchiyama basin was kept by local lord Shiomi clan resided at Inozaki castle at the opposite of Yura-gawa river but they were ruined by Mitsuhide.

Mitsuhide started invasion to Tanba province in 1575, but had hard fight before the mountainous terrain of the province and once was defeated by the combination of strong local lords Hatano clan at Yagami castle (Hyogo prefecture) and Akai clan at Kuroi castle (Hyogo prefecture).

But Mitsuhide started his next campaign adopting more conservative strategy capturing branch castles the enemy one by one, simultaneously sending reinforcements to other Oda generals in Kinki region. After persistent battles, Mitsuhide at last ruined both of Hatano clan and Akai clan in 1579. Soon Mitsuhide defeated remaining small lords and captured whole part of Tanba province.

Rule of Tanba province

Mitsuhide who became the lord of Tanba province established its ruling structure. As Tanba province was separated basins, Mitsuhide had to prepare branch castles at each area and place his trusted retainers. Kameoka basin which was next to capital Kyoto city and aside of Sanindo Road was chosen as main base at Tanba province, and Mitsuhide newly built Tanba Kameyama castle (Kyoto prefecture).

For Sasayama basin and Hikami basin formerly held by large local lords, main bases of former lords were continuously used. Kuroi castle (Hyogo prefecture) of Hikami basin became the castle of Toshimitsu Saito (1534-1582), a brave general and core troop of Akechi army who is sometimes regarded as the cause of revolt of Mitsuhide against Nobunaga.

On the other hand, Yagami castle (Hyogo prefecture) of Sasayama basin was given to Mitsutada Akechi (1540-1582), a cousin of Mitsuhide who accompanied Mitsuhide from the era of wandering in youth. Both of Yagami castle and Kuroi castle were renovated into smaller but more secure castle having stone walls at their core part.

For Fukuchiyama area, as it was an important place of communication and Inozaki  castle formerly used by Shiomi clan was too small, Mitsuhide newly built Fukuchiyama castle at the opposite of Yura-gawa river. Along with the build of the castle, Mitsuhide improved flood control of Yura-gawa river and established Fukuchiyama town between the castle and river.

Structure of Fukuchiyama castle

Fukuchiyama castle spreads over curved long and narrow height of about 500 meter long. Currently former secondary area was excavated and disappeared thus castle site is separated into two part but originally it was connected as a single hill. 

Central area of the castle is a square shaped one of about 80 meter. At the center of the area, there is an independent style main tower over the basement. The basement of the tower might keep the style of Akechi period, but the tower was later rebuilt into three layer and one basement tower. 

Current tower was built based on the image of original main tower built by Mitsuhide but seems too large and a bit stocky. Around this time retainers of Nobunaga limited the height of main tower by three or four floor considering to their master, and just as a branch castle it had to be lower than main castle.

At the west of central area, there is also square shaped secondary area of about 100 meter long. Ahead of that there is third area of 80 meter long square, and outer area of about 100 meter long square. Secondary area totally disappeared but line of stone wall seems slightly remains as a fence of the house.

Trusted retainer of Mitsuhide

Mitsuhide placed his most trusted retainer Hidemitsu Akechi (1536?-1582) as a commander of Fukuchiyama castle. The origin of Hidemitsu is not clear same as his master, but said as relative of Mitsuhide. Originally had Miyake surname but later changed to Akechi.

Hidemitsu married with the daughter of Mitsuhide, and became his first class retainer. Fukuchiyama area was a frontline toward the lords of Sanin region and connecting point to Hosokawa clan which was the colleague at Oda clan but under the order of Akechi clan, thus it was a critical point for Akechi clan and this shows the importance of Hidemitsu at Akechi clan.

Hidemitsu stayed at Fukuchiyama castle by 1582, and at that year after the defeat of Mitsuhide at the battle of Yamazaki and his death, Hidemitsu killed the relatives of Akechi clan and made suicide at Sakamoto castle (Shiga prefecture) then closed the history of Akechi clan. There is a tale at this time Hidemitsu ride into shallow point of Lake Biwako and crossed the water to Sakamoto castle.

Change of holders and afterward of castle

After the fall of Akechi clan, next ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) who held Tanba province stayed his relative such as Hidekatsu Hashiba (1569-1586) or Ietsugu Sugihara (1530-1584). Later Shigekatsu Onogi (1563-1600 was appointed as the commander, but after the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 Shigekatsu was forced to suicide blamed for the attack of Tanabe castle (Kyoto prefecture) held by Fujitaka Hosokawa (1534-1610).

Under Edo Shogunate, Arima clan became the lord of Fukuchiyama domain. As a large lord close to Edo Shogunate, Arima clan reformed Fukuchiyama castle into huge modern castle and developed Fukuchiyama town. But after the battle of Osaka castle, Arima clan was moved to the lord of Kurume castle (Fukuoka prefecture) after Tanaka clan.

After Arima clan, several hereditary retainers of Edo Shogunate served as the commander of Fukuchiyama castle. At last Kutsuki clan which was the descendant of Kutsuki clan which was the lord of Kutsuki valley near Kyoto city held Fukuchiyama castle by the end of Edo Shogunate.

Today only central area remains on the edge of the hill, but other area of the castle were leveled by the construction of municipal office or railroad thus mostly disappeared. Only stone walls of basement of the main tower and several gates moved to neighbor temples keeps the shape of the castle. But development of the city shows insights of Mitsuhide who founded the city, even though destructing castle ruins.

Continue to Part 11


20 minutes walk from JR West Sanin-Honsen line / Fukuchiyamasen line Fukuchiyama station. 15 minutes drive from Maizuru-Wakasa Jidoshado Expressway Fukuchiyama interchange.

Related Castles

Sakamoto Castle -Time to treason (6) burning down of Enryakuji temple-
Tanba Kameyama Castle -Time to treason (13) now is time to treason-
Yagami Castle -Resistance and end of Hatano clan-
Kuroi Castle -Castle of red devil in deep mountain-
Tanabe Castle -Art brings bread-
Kurume Castle -Castle of lords steadily climbed up the ladder-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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