Monday, August 3, 2020

Moriyama Castle -Long journey to Pax Tokugawana (6) too early loss of precocious great lord-

Moriyama Castle

-Long journey to Pax Tokugawana (6) too early loss of precocious great lord-



Name: Moriyama castle (Moriyama-jo)
Place: Ichiba Moriyama-ku Nagoya city, Aichi
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 16th century
Remaining remnants: Clay walls and moats 

Brief History

Moriyama castle (守山城) exists at the end of plateau spreads from Seto area toward west between Shonai-gawa river and its tributary Yada-gawa river at 5 kilometer northeast from Nagoya city central. The height of plateau is about 10 meter tall from bottom, and Moriyama castle is built utilizing this height difference.

The terrain of Nagoya city is roughly a combination of plateaus spreads from east hill area to west lower area. Castles of Nagoya city is mostly built utilizing height difference of plateau, including Nagoya castle which uses northwestern corner of Nagoya Daichi plateau. Along with the edge of plateau where Moriyama castle exists, Obata castle and Ryusenji castle were also built.

Origin of Moriyama castle

Precise year is unknown but Moriyama castle was recorded in Japanese poem party held in 1526 and built before that. At that time central area of Nagoya city was managed by Nagoya Imagawa clan, which was a branch family of Imagawa clan which was the governor of Suruga province (middle part of Shizuoka prefecture) resided at old Nagoya castle.

Nobuhide Oda (1511-1552), who was the father of later ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) and lord of Shohata castle (Aichi prefecture), was still the retainer of Oda clan, the deputy governor of Owari province (west half of Aichi prefecture) under the governor Shiba clan, but based on the wealth from Tsushima port his power gradually excess upper families.

But Nobuhide could not attack his masters such as Oda clan or Shiba clan at north half of the province, thus tried to expand eastward to current Nagoya city area which was occupied by Imagawa clan since the defeat of Shiba clan in Totomi province (west part of Shizuoka prefecture) before Imagawa clan in 1515. 

Cooperation between Oda clan and Matsudaira clan

Nobuhide who looked east connected with Nobusada Matsudaira (?-1538), the relative of Matsudaira clan which was the lord of west half of Mikawa province (east half of Aichi prefecture) at the backward of Nagoya area, and let his younger daughter marry with Nobusada.

Castle site is only 15 kilometer apart from the border of Owari province and Mikawa province, then Nobuhide Oda asked Nobusada Matsudaira to proceed to Moriyama area and build a castle, to constrain Nagoya Imagawa clan from backside. After doing so, in 1532, Nobuhide Oda assaulted old Nagoya castle and expelled Nagoya Imagawa clan from castle.

Later Nobusada Matsudaira let his daughter marry with Nobumitsu Oda (1516-1556), the younger brother of Nobuhide Oda. Nobusada Matsudaira handed Moriyama castle to Nobumitsu Oda, under cooperation with Nobuhide Oda. Moriyama castle might be strengthened to protect Nagoya city area, the new territory of Nobuhide Oda.

Structure of Moriyama castle

Due to the change of the stream of Yada-gawa river in 18th century, the original shape of the castle is not clear. Currently Hoshoji temple which is about 80 meter long square exists at southwestern edge of the plateau. At the north line of the temple there is a 20 meter wide and 10 meter depth huge dry moat continues over 50 meter, and at the north of this moat there is a remnant of huge clay wall of 5 meter height only 20 meter long remains.

Considering the size of this dry moat, northwestern corner of the plateau now used as ground of houses might be the central area of the castle, which might be encircled by huge clay wall and dry moat. Current temple building might be secondary area, which might spread to the west of central area but this part might be collapsed along later change of stream.

At 100 meter east of castle site, there is a hill of large ancient tomb named Hakusan tomb. This might work as outer barrier of the castle separating from the body of the plateau, and between the castle and tomb there might be a castle town even now called as “Shijo” (market). The size of the castle is about 80 meter wide and 200 meter long, and including castle town it might be about 200 meter long square.

Rise of Kiyoyasu Matsudaira

But just after that, in Mikawa province, Kiyoyasu Matsudaira (1511-1535), a young lord who was the nephew of Nobusada Matsudaira, succeeded Matsudaira clan only in 13 years old in 1523 and aggressively expanded his territory. In 1530, Kiyoyasu Matsudaira fell Uri castle (Aichi prefecture) at the eastern border of Mikawa province and united province.

At the same time, Kiyoyasu Matsudaira avoided the attack to Totomi province which was firmly grasped by larger Imagawa clan, tried to proceed to Aichi prefecture. Before the fall of Uri castle, Kiyoyasu already attacked the eastern border of Owari province and fell Iwasaki castle (Aichi prefecture) at current Nisshin city and Shinano castle (Aichi prefecture) city.

Nobusada Matsudaira followed Kiyoyasu Matsudaira as a part of Matsudaira family, but Kiyoyasu accelerated to attack to Nobuhide Oda, his brother in law. Furthermore, at the attack of Uri castle, Kiyoyasu blamed Nobusada not helping his colleague Chikamori Matsudaira (1503-1530) who died in the siege. 

Downfall of Moriyama

In 1535, at last Kiyoyasu Matsudaira sent large army to Owari province. As Nobumitsu Oda who was the lord of Moriyama castle turned to Matsudaira clan under relationship with Nobusada Matsudaira, Kiyoyasu Matsudaira entered Moriyama castle and prepared for the battle with Nobuhide Oda.

However, Masatoyo Abe (?-1535), the retainer of Kiyoyasu Matsudaira and his father Sadayoshi Abe (1505-1549) was rumored to revolt against Kiyoyasu, stayed at Moriyama castle. Next morning a horse broke loose then Kiyoyasu ordered to capture it, and Sadayoshi misunderstood this was order for himself then suddenly killed Kiyoyasu. 

This incident called as "Moriyama-Kuzure" (downfall of Moriyama", and Kiyoyasu Matsudaira experienced short life like a shooting star, succeeding Matsudaira clan in 13 years old, uniting Mikawa province in 19 years old and died on the excursion to other province in 24 years old.

Matsudaira army suddenly lost their great leader retreated to Mikawa province. It is said that the rumor of revolt of Abe clan was spread by Nobusada Matsudaira, who tried to save his brother in law and became a leader of Matsudaira clan once planned. Far from its feasibility, but as a result Nobuhide Oda and Nobusada Matsudaira gained from this accident.

Afterward of castle

After this accident, Moriyama castle was held by Nobumitsu Oda again until the movement of Nobumitsu Oda to old Nagoya castle in 1555. Next Nobutsugu Oda (?-1574), another younger brother of Nobuhide Oda became the lord of Moriyama castle. But the retainer of Nobutsugu unintentionally killed Hidetaka Oda (?-1555), the son of Nobuhide Oda, then Nobutsugu once escaped from Moriyama castle to avoid the revenge of Nobunaga Oda who succeeded Nobuhide Oda.

Nobunaga placed another brother Nobutoki Oda (?-1556) at Moriyama castle but died by the revolt of retainer, thus Nobunaga forgave Nobutsugu Oda and put him again on Moriyama castle. Nobutsugu kept Moriyama castle but died in the battle against Ikko Ikki army in 1574, and Moriyama castle might be abolished soon as there is no record of use at the battle of Komaki Nagakute in 1584.

Now only small clay wall and dry moat covered with bush remain, but cliff edge of the plateau certifies the existence of the castle in the past. From the edge of the plateau wide range of flat area of Nagoya city central is seen, and this might be the same of the scenery of Kiyoyasu Matsudaira who planned to beat his enemy at the peak of his life, not knowing approaching misfortune pushed himself and Matsudaira clan over the cliff.


15 minutes walk from Meitetsu Seto-sen line Yada station. 30 minutes drive from Tomei Expressway Nagoya interchange but no parking around castle site.

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Pictures (click to enlarge)

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