Koriyama Castle located in Yoshida-cho, Aki Takata City, Hiroshima Pref. was a large-scale castle which covered the whole mountain of Koriyama. The original castle was built on a ridge in the southeastern part of the mountain in 1336 by Mori Tokichika, who was appointed as the Jito (an official to manage manors) of Yoshida manor. Since then the successive heads of the clan had resided at this castle until the time of Mori Motonari, who fortified the castle and expanded the castle area in the whole mountain. In the Battle of Yoshida Koriyama in 1541, the castle was attacked by Amako Haruhisa’s forces with 20,000 soldiers, but the Mori clan succeeded in beating them back. In 1589, the Mori clan shifted its bases to Hiroshima Castle. Koriyama Castle was dismantled in the early Edo period. Most of the castle compounds were destroyed at this time. At the present time, there are about 130 remains of kuruwa (castle compounds) spreading all over the mountain, from which we can easily imagine how large the castle was.
Aokage Castle located in Innoshima Takuma-cho, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Pref. was a fortress built by Murakami Yoshihiro, the head of the Murakami Suigun (maritime warrior clan), during the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392). Since then it had been the base of the Murakami Suigun for 270 years.
As Innoshima Island was the base of the Murakami Suigun, there were a lot of castles or fortresses built in the Middles Ages. Aokage Castle was at the top of Mt. Aokage (277 m) in the mid-western part of Innoshima Island. It is presumed that the castle was built to reinforce the defenses for Dozaki Castle located in the east against the attack of the Kobayakawa clan standing to the North Imperial Court side. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, it was dismantled.
At the present time, only the ruins of Honmaru (the main castle), the stone walls and other residences remain in the mountain. Kinrenji Temple to the north of this castle is known as the family temple of the Innoshima Murakami clan. The graveyard of the successive generations of the clan lies in the precinct.
Mihara Castle was located in present-day Mihara City, Hiroshima Pref. The castle ruin is a designated National Historic Site. It was built on the island near the river mouth of the Numata River in 1580 by Kobayakawa Takakage, a son of Mori Motonari. As the castle looked as if it were floating on the sea, it was called “Uki-shiro (floating castle)” or “Umi-shiro (sea castle).” The castle area was about 900 m from east (the Wakuhara River) to west (where Garyu Bridge is presently located) and about 700 m from north to south. Mihara Castle was an important fort, and it is said that Toyotomi Hideyoshi once stayed here. After Takakage’s death, Asano Tadayoshi, the head retainer of the Asano clan, who fought for the Toyotomi forces in the Battle of Sekigahara, was transferred to this castle. The castle was used as a branch castle of the Hiroshima domain until the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It was dismantled in 1871, when the domain system was abolished by the Meiji government. Now the castle area is arranged into a park, where the stone walls and moats remain.
Kiryu textile is the traditional handicraft handed down in Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture. It is said that Kiryu textiles dates back to around A.D. 800, when Princess Shirataki, who had served at the Imperial Court, came to Kiryu after she married into the Yamada family and taught the art of sericulture and weaving to the people of the village. Kiryu textiles became well known throughout the country after Nitta Yoshisada raised an army at the end of the Kamakura period (1192-1333) and Tokugawa Ieyasu used a white silk flag produced in Kiryu at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
In the middle of the 18th century, they invited two weavers of Nishijin to learn the most innovative techniques of the time. Then in the first half of the 19th century with patronage from the Shogunate, it became possible to produce high quality textiles. Being called “Nishijin in the west, Kiryu in the east,” the town of Kiryu was flourished as the production center of high quality textiles, which became one of the key industries of the country throughout the periods from Meiji to early Showa.
With unpopularity of kimono, the textile industry in Kiryu is also in a predicament now, but Kiryu is making its way to develop new products by introducing the latest technology.
Gifu Castle is located at the top of Mt. Kinkazan in Gigu City, Gifu Prefecture. It was built as a fort in 1201 by Yakima’s Mikado, the executive director of the Kamakura Shogunate. Later in the Warring States period (1493-1573), known as an impregnable castle, it was resided by Saito Doze, who is famous in a novel “Unitary Monogatari,” and Oda Nobunaga. The castle finally fell in an outpost battle of the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and was dismantled in the next year. The donjon and the watch tower were removed to and reconstructed for Kano Castle.
The castle building was restored to the present form in 1956. It is a reinforced concrete building with 3 stories and 4 floors. As the symbol of the city, it is used for a history museum and the top floor is for the observation deck. From there, you can command a panoramic view of the Nagara River and Ibuki mountains. In summer, the deck is open even at night for the citizens who come to enjoy the panoramic night view.
Ogaki Castle located in Kuruwa-machi in Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture is a flatland castle. It is said that the castle was constructed in 1500 by Takekoshi Naotsuna, a descendant of Sasaki Nobutsuna, who was a warrior in the early Kamakura period and was a member of the Genji Family descended directly from Emperor Uda. After 1559, when Takekoshi Shigeyoshi was defeated by Saito Dozo, the castle had been resided by many castellans including Ishida Mitsunari, who led the Western army in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600). After his defeat, the castle had been abandoned until the early Edo period (1603-1868). In 1635, Toda Ujikane was transferred to Ogaki as the lord of the Ogaki domai. Since then the Toda clan resided in this castle till the end of the Edo period.
The castle escaped being dismantled after the Meiji Restoration and remained in its original form until World War II. The castle had a donjon with 4 stories 4 floors. Its strong but elegant appearance was renowned all over the country. The castle was destroyed by fire during the World War II and rebuilt to the present form in 1959. The donjon is used as a history museum, where citizens can touch on first-hand sources of the city’s history.
Kochi Castle was constructed by Yamanouchi Kazutoyo, who was enfeoffed with the Tosa domain after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He started the construction of the castle on top of Mt. Otakasakayama in 1601, and moved to the new castle in 1603, when most of the works had been completed.
The castle compounds except the Otemon Gate were burnt down by a fire in 1727, but they were restored to the original forms until 1753. Although the castle has suffered from many crises including the Meiji government order of castle dismantling, natural disasters and World War II, it has been preserved in a good state of form until now, being called “the finest castle in the Nankai district,” or “the Lucky Castle.” It was designated as an Important Cultural Property on August 25, 1950.
Mantokuin Temple located in Kita-Hiroshima-cho, Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima Pref. is a nationally designated historic site. This temple was established in 1575 by a grandson of Mori Motonari, Kikkawa Motonaga, who was a powerful warrior in Aki province (present-day Hiroshima Pref.) from the Warring States period (1493-1573) to the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1598). It is said that he built it for purification of his own sin that he had committed as a warrior. He also wished to be buried at this temple. The original building was a small country house in a quiet mountain; however after his death, his younger brother, Hiroie proceeded with a large-scale construction of a temple with the front approach, stone walls, and annex halls so that it should be befitting to his family temple. In 1600, when the Kikkawa clan was transferred to the Iwakuni domain (present-day Yamaguchi Pref.), Mantokuin Temple was also dismantled and reconstructed in a new domain, from which there was only a vacant lot left in Aki province. Now the ruin site has been arranged into a historic park, where stands “Guidance Hall Aomatsu,” which was modeled in full-scale after the main hall of the old temple. The park is visited by a lot of citizens who are interested in history.