Overview of the ruins of Wakimoto Castle

1. Wakimoto Castle in History
Wakimoto Castle stood on the location which was key to controling the Oga peninsula since the old days. After unifying Akita, Hiyama and Toshima in 1570, Chikasue Ando, whose influence extended to Hinai and even to the Ezo island (present-day Hokkaido), reconstructed it to make his home castle, while he was negotiating with Nobunaga Oda for political settlements.

2. Characteristics of the Ruins of Wakimoto Castle
1) One of the largest mountain castles in Tohoku region in the 16th century.
The castle was built on the hills 100 meters above sea level. The area extends 1.8 kilometers east-west and 2.0 kilometers north-south. The total area is about 150 hectare. It rivals in size and resembles in structure with the other major mountain castles in Tohoku region such as Hiyama Castle in Noshiro City in Akita Prefecture and Mukai-Haguroyama Castle in Aizu-Hongo Town in Fukushima Prefecture.
2) A good variety of relics, which makes it almost a museum of architectural techniques for fortification.
Taking advatage of the natural features, various techniques were used for fortification such as horikiri (ridges cut down around enclosures), karabori (dry moats), dorui (earthworks), kuruwa (walls made of earthworks or stones as to enclose around a castle), danchiku (ridge roads), umadashi (embankments built in front of a castle hidden from outside), koguchi (small entrances) and kido (wodden gates). In addition, on a side slope a sort of maze with empty moats and mounds was built to prevent access to the castle. In addition, more than 30 vertical moats and mounds on the western steep side slope are spectacular.
3) Plurality of cores.
Roughly speaking, this castle was formed by more than one core parts such as the enclosure around Uchidate at Oibanazaki, the enclosure around the horse field at Furudate and Mt. Hommyoji, the enclosure around Kabutogasaki, the enclosure around Uchigasaki, the enclosure behind the Tayasawa village and the enclosure at Nagaragi. Among them, it is believed that the one around the horse field at Furudate was most probably the original center.
4) The Tengamichi road going through the castle.
The Tengamichi road is one of the major roads in the area which starts at Funakoshi, goes through the Wakimoto village and the remains of Wakimoto Castle and leads to Funakawa and Kitaura.
5) The construction of the Tayazawa road together with the castle.
The road from the Tayazawa village to the town of Wakimoto going through the northern part of Wakimoto Castle was created as a through cut road and was equiped with angles and false deadends.
6) Wakimoto-Hongo Village as a castle town
The Wakimoto-Hongo Village retains the apperance of a medieval castle town. There used be moats, wooden town gates, the samurai residence area and the commoners area. We can still find cranked roads typical of castle towns.

3. Chronological Table of Chikasue Ando and Wakimoto Castle
1539 Chikasue Ando, the future lord of Wakimoto Castle was born between Kiyosue Ando, the lord of Hiyama Castle, and a daughter of Takasue Ando, the lord of Minato Castle.
1570 After the internal dispute, the Minato branch of the Ando clan comes under the sway of Chikasue.
1575 Chikasue sends a hawk as a gift to Nobunaga Oda.
1577 Chikasue was conferred the official rank of Jugoi-ge. He handed over both Minato Castle and Hiyama Castle to his heir, Norisue Ando. Chikasue takes Wakimoto Castle for residence.
1580 Chikasue was conferred the official rank of Jugoi-jo (one rank higher than Jugoi-ge) and the official post of Jiju.
1582 Sanesue became the lord of Minato Castle. Nobunaga Oda was killed at Honnoji Temple.
1587 In September, Chikasue died in a battle at Yodokawa (in the central part of Akita) and was buried at Hozoji Temple near Wakimoto Castle.
1589 The lord of Toshima Castle, Michisue Minato attacked Sanesue, Chikasue’s second son. Sanesue once considered a defensive siege in Wakimoto Castle, but finally chose Hiyama Castle and after the siege he prevailed over the enemies.
1590 Hideyoshi Toyotomi issued the Oshu Order, by virtue of which Wakimoto Castle probably destroyed.
Oga City Board of Education.

Ruins of Wakimoto Castle