How much do you know about Gifu prefecture? Do you even know where Gifu prefecture is? I guess the prefecture is not as famous as other famous tourist spots like Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto in Japan. But if you love some famous Japanese shogun from the sengoku-jidai, or Warring States period, Gifu prefecture is a must-see place for you.
Gifu prefecture is located in the middle of Japan, western Japan. When it comes to its geography, the prefecture is mainly covered with mountains. These mountains are known well for their beautiful views and their heights. Many of them are over 2500 meters above the sea level. They attract many people to visit there too. There are many people trying to hike them in green season.
I told you earlier that Gifu prefecture is a place for shogun lovers. Gifu prefecture was an important place for battles. In Warring States period, a famous shogun Oda Nobunaga named an area Gifu prefecture. Then he used the prefecture as a beginning point to invade up or down to fight against other shogun to become a leader of the country. In order to achieve this, he built many castles in the prefecture.
In this article, I will show you the castles related to Oda Nobunaga and his man, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who became one of the historical shogun later. Let’s do the castle-hopping together thinking about the success of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Gifu castle in Gifu city
The castle is located on the top of the mountain called Mt.Kinkazan in the city. The castle was difficult to take down because of its good location. So people said that once you won a battle here and took down the castle in the old times, you would be able to become a master of Japan.
Ever since Gifu castle was built, it has been seeing a lot of history around it. Actually the name of the castle was different at first. When the famous shogun Oda Nobunaga took control over the castle, he became an owner of the castle. He changed the name of the area to its current name, Gifu and the castle name to Gifu castle.
There is a cable car that takes you to top of the mountain where Gifu castle was built. The castle is really big for the mountain top. You will be surprised how they built this big castle on the mountain even in the past.
Sunomata castle in Ogaki city
Sunomata castle has many legends with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It is said that a young boy Hashiba Hideyoshi, who became Toyotomi Hideyoshi later, built the castle just overnight. – How is that possible? – I think I can hear you saying that. He had been preparing everything for the castle while fighting in a war. He never missed the best chance to complete his job. I wrote about it before, for more info -> The Story About The Daimyo With Castle
Naegi castle in Nakatsu city
Naegi castle doesn’t completely exist today. Only pillars and foundations of the castle and yagura remains. Even though we can no longer know what the castle looked like in the past, we can tell how great the castle was from remained things. Naegi castle was built on rocky mountains. People used wild stones effectively into building the castle. Usually it is discouraging to build something on it, but they made the most of it. You can see the stunning views of Nakatsu city down from up there.
Ogaki castle in Ogaki city
This Ogaki castle is famous for its special roofs. In general, many castles have three-layered roof. But Ogaki castle has one more layer. It has four-layered roof, which is really rare in Japan. The castle is also famous for its master. Some famous shogun owned Ogaki castle in the Warring State period.
They were Oda Nobunaga and Ishida Mitsunari. Especially when the master was Ishida Mitsunari, he placed the headquarter of his military at Ogaki castle during the war, the Sekigahara battle, which is the most famous battle in the history.
You will know how important the location of the castle was for them to take a control of the country back then.
Gujo-hachiman Castle in Gujo-hachiman city
When the Meiji era started, the government started destroying castles except for the ones that was considered still useful for army training base. Gujo-hachiman castle was one of them. Later it was once broken down. In the Showa era, they decided to rebuilt it and to leave the history of the castle for next generations. The castle was not exact the same, but this is the oldest wooden rebuilt castle in Japan.
Now the castle is a symbol of Gujo-hachiman city. White walls is bright, they make the castle look really grand and beautiful. A Japanese historical author Shiba ryotaro loved the castle too, especially in winter. He wrote about it in his book.
The castle was built on top of the mountain. You need to walk to get there.