Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Magone Castle -Magic wand shape castle faces circular river-

Magone Castle

 -Magic wand shape castle faces circular river-



Name: Magone castle (Magone-jo)
Place: Hirase-cho Toyota city, Aichi
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 14th century?
Remaining remnants: Clay walls, stone walls and  dry moats 

Brief History

Magone castle (孫根城) is located at the root of peninsular like plateau at the merging point of Tomoe-gawa river and its tributary Kaji-kawa river at 2 kilometer northeast of Onuma town, a regional center of Shimoyama providence in the east part of Toyota city. Shimoyama providence is a hilly area at the upstream of Tomoe-gawa river and has many rivers, lakes and falls full of nature.

Tomoe-gawa river, which is a major tributary of Yahagi-gawa river, starts from Tsukude area in the middle of Mikawa-Kogen highland and flow westward then turns northwestward at the castle site. Then the river turns southwestward at famous Korankei valley then merges to Yahagi-gawa river at the east of Toyota city central, like a question mark lies 90 degree rotated.

On the other hand, Gunkai-gawa river which is a tributary of Tomoe-gawa river starts near from castle site and flows westward like a short-cut of curving Tomoe-gawa river. Utilizing these flows of rivers, Route 153, Route420, Route 473 and Route 301 forms a circular traffic route in the west half of Mikawa-Kogen highland. Formerly west part of this round route passes along Tomoe-gawa river and runs next of castle site.

Origin of Magone castle

According to the history of former Shimoyama village, Magone castle was built by local lord Kaji clan probably in 15th century. Kaji clan stayed at Magone castle for six generations, but was attacked by Ashikaga clan (probably by Imagawa clan which was the warlord of Suruga province (middle part of Shizuoka prefecture) and had same crest) and fell in 1536.

Later Honda clan became the lord of Magone castle, but in 1571 or 1575 Magone castle fell by attack of Takeda clan, which was the warlord of Kai province (Yamanashi prefecture), into north part of Mikawa province (east half of Aichi prefecture). There is no record of the battle at Magone castle but battle at neighbor castles such as Asuke castle (Aichi prefecture) at Korankei valley or Onuma castle (Aichi prefecture)at Onuma  town were recorded. 

As Matsudaira providence at the west of Shimoyama providence was the native place of Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), the lord of Mikawa province, then Tomoe-gawa river became the border of Takeda clan and Tokugawa clan. Relatively progressive defense structure of the castle compared with its size might be built among the tension of both clans.

Structure of castle

Rough shape of Magone castle seems like a magic wand consists of round head, shaft and grip hand. Central area at upper part is a round shape terrace of 30 meter diameter at the peak of plateau and has an entrance at southward. Northward of central area is protected by sheer slope and dry moat faced northward, the merging point of the river.

Middle part of the castle applicable to the shaft had three layer of terrace separated by height difference. Middle layer has a rectangular shaped hollow place has a line of stone wall at its front side, then there might be a house of the lord of the castle or powder magazine at this point. Front side of this middle part is separated by large dry moat from downer part.

Downer part consists of two terraces separated by dry moat like a grip of the rod. Even though small, the structure is well planned such as folded road passing the terrace or two terraces have clay walls at front side. At the south of downer part there is a small dry moat at the choke point of the ridge connected to southward and there might be a main gate of the castle. 

Total size of the castle is about 200 meter long but it does not have large area which is necessary for an administrative castle. Probably this castle might be kept by tens of soldiers and might watch both of river transportation of Tomoe-gawa river and land transportation from Korankei-area toward south.

Afterward of castle

Takeda clan once kept large part of Mikawa-Kogen height, including Tsukude area and Shitara area at eastward. But after the defeat of the battle of Nagashino in 1575 before the alliance of central ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) and Ieyasu Tokugawa, Takeda army retreated from Mikawa province then Magone castle might be abolished at this time.

Today no building remains but structure of the castle well remain on the plateau. Formerly the flow of transportation passed the road and river aside the castle, like a stream of magic powers radiated from magic wand. Today apart from large road the castle site quietly stand, like a magic wand exhausted its magic power.


45 minutes drive from Tokai-Kanjo Jidoshado Expressway Toyota-Matsudaira interchange to the meeting point of Aichi prefectural road 362 and 477. Trace sign to Kasuga Jinja shrine on the hill and walk to castle site.

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Pictures (click to enlarge)

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