Kakegawa-jo Castle / The Short Summary Of Kakegawajo Castle
Kakegawajo Castle was bulit by Asahina Clan by order from their master
Imagawa Clan, the military governor of Suruga Province in order to expand
to Totomi Province in early Sengoku Period (the warring States Period),
it was the strategically important castle to protect and invade to Totomi
Province. So Kakegawa
was in Totomi Province (west part of Shizuoka Prefecture
) and it was near the boundary between Suruga (central part of Shzuoka
Prefecture) and Totomi. This was the beginning of the history of Kakegawa
Castle. Kakegawa Castle we could see now rebuilt by Kazutoyo Yamanouchi
in Azuchi-Momoyama Period.
Kakegawa was the strategic center of the eastern Totomi Province to seize Tokaido road in Sengoku Period, then conflicts to gain the castle oftne occured among the sengoku daimyos.
Yoshitada Imagawa commanded Yashuhiro Asahina to built Kakegawa Castle
to gain Totomi Province in the middle of Muromachi Period, and the Asahina
Clan stayed to protect it as the jodai (castle keeper), so his son Yasuyoshi
and his grandchild Yasutomo succeeded the position to keep it. In 1497,
Ujichika Imagawa and Soun Hojo invaded to Totomi Province and conqured.
Then the Asahina Clan built a new Kakegawajo Castle on Mt.Ryutosan 500
meter southeast left from the Old Kakegawajo Castle. Imagawa Clan ruled
Totomi Province and Asahina Clan ruled Kakegawa. Imagawa ruling 2 provinces,
they tried to expand and they finally gained the power to rule Mikawa province
in 1549 when Ieyasu Tokugawa who was the 5 years old lord of the province
was taken as a hostage. Then the Imagawa Clan seized 3 provinces and it
became the strongest and most influential daimyo in eastern Japan. However,
the Imagawa Clan lost the Battle of Okehazama in 1560 and Yoshimot Imagawa,
the head of the family was killed by Nobunaga Oda, the clan soon lost the
power. Ieyasu Tokugawa, he became a hostage once, but he went back t and
took back his position in Mikawa Province (eastern part of Aichi Prefecture),
and he tried to gradually expand his territory to Totomi Province. In 1568,
Shingen Takeda, the lord of Kai-no-kuni (Yamanashi Prefecture) invaded
Suruga Province, then Ujitsuna, the son of Yoshimoto escaped to Kakegawa
Castle, but next year, he opened the castle and gave it to Ieyasu Tokugawa.
The Tokugawa Clan gained the power to rule Totomi, and he left the castle
to Ienari Ishikawa and his son Yasumichi Ishikawa to keep. But it was not
stable, Takeda Clan next to him also tried to expand to Totomi. In 1571,
Shingen attacked Takatenjinjo Castle on the south of Kakegawa Castle, but
he could not gain it because of its strong protection. In 1574, Katsuyori
Takeda, the son of Shingen took over Takatenjinjo Castle. Ieyasu then built
Yokosuga Castle to regain it. In 1581, Ieyasu succeeded to take back it.
The Kakegawa Castle was the front line between the Tokugawa and Takeda
for 10 years, the Ishikawa and the Tokugawa successfully protected the
In 1586, Ieyasu Tokugawa submitted to Hideyoshi Toyotomi who was the Kanpaku
Dajo-daijin (the supreme minister and chancellor) having the power to rule
the samurai society,, and he became his vassal. In 1590, Ieyasu moved to
), then Kazutoyo Yamanouchi, a vassal of Hideyoshi moved to Kakegawa Caslte
from Nagahama Castle in Shiga Prefecture. Kazutoyo rebuilt the castle,
so he built the stone walls, the donjon, otemon gate and other buildings
with tile-roofs, he also constructed levee in Ooigawa river to prevent
flood, so he worked hard to keep the castle well. Kakegawa Castle we could
see now was rebuilt by him at that time.
In 1600, Ieyasu won the Battle of Sekigahara and gained the power to control
Japan. He took back Kakegawa Castle, so Kazutoyo moved to Kochi Prefecture,
and Sadakatu Matsudaira was given it by Ieyasu. In Edo Period, Kakegawa
was a strategically very important post town to protect Edo, then Matsudaira,
Ii, Honda and Ota, daimyos in hereditary vassalage to the Tokugawa, were
appointed such as the lords of Kakegawa to control. Moreover, Kakegawa
was connected to Edo by Tokaido road, so the tourist industries were flourished
with two post towns Kakegawa and Hisaka. However, almost buildings of Kakegawa
Castle were broken down by Ansei Tokai Jisin (the big earthquake) in 1854.
Ninomaru Goten palace was only rebuilt in 1861 untile Edo Period (1603~1867)
ended. In Meiji Era, Kakegawa Castle was abandoned by the Ordiance Abolishing
Castle in 1871.
In 1994, the donjon was rebuilt with wood, so Kakegawajo Castle's Tower
was the first wooden donjon reconstructed, then it has been called the
best castle in Tokai region. And Kakegawajo Castle was selected one of
the 100 best castles in Japan in 2004. There ara hundreds of Cherry Trees
around the castle and many visitors come to see them in spring.
Taiko Yagura (The Tower for the Drum)
Taiko Yagura is the tower to store the drum to tell time for residents
around Kakegawajo Castle in Edo Period. The drum used in the period was
preserved in the main hall at Kakegawajo Goten (the palace at Kakegawajo
Castle) and visitors could see it there.
According research, any remains imply where Yonsokumon Gate was is not found, then the gate was designed based on Shoho Siro Ezu (the picture of the castle in Shoho Era). Yonsokumon Gate has a gate with four pillars. It was a kind of a toll gate having a place to watch visitors inside the gate. It was a important gate on the way to the donjon.
Mikazukibori (the crescent-shaped moat)
Mikazukibori is a crescent-shaped moat in front of the main gate of the donjon. The depth is 8 meter. This is one of inner moats, Sorobanbori moat and Matsuoike pond are other inner moats.
The Legend Of Kirifuki Ido Well
There are some legends remained of Kakegawa Castle, the legend of Kirifuki Ido well is one of that.
When Shingen Takeda and Ieyasu Tokugawa had invaded to his territory, Ujizane
Imagawa escaped to Kakegawajo Castle that was kept by Yasutomo Asahina.
While Ieyasu surrounded the castle to overtake it, Kakegawa Castle was
blanketed in a fog set from a well beside the donjon, then Tokugawa army
could not attack it. After that, Kakegawajo Castle was called Kumokirijo
Castle ( a castle wrapped in a fog or a cloud).
Kirifuki Ido Well exists beside the donjon now.
Kakegawajo Castle by the google map
Visit Events, Landmarks and Areas Near Kakegawajo Castle
Kakegawa City is exciting city for tourist to visit. Tea leaves and Christmas
oranges are the local specialties, and the Kakegawajo Castle is selected
as one of the most beautiful 100 castles in Japan.Of course, Kakegawa city
faces to the Pacific Ocean, it means tourists could eat delicious sea foods.
Why don't you visit Kakegawajo Castle?