Odawara-jo Castle / The Short Summary Of Odawarajo
Odawara-jo Castle was originally a mountaintop castle built on Hachimanyam
or Mt.Hachiman by Omori Clan ruled the western part of Sagami-no-kuni
(the southern part of Kanagawa Prefacture
). (Some said the Kobayakawa Clan built the castle, and the Omori Clan
at Suruga-no-kuni seized it in 1416.) There are no specific information
of the date of construction and the scale of the castle, but it was said
that the castle might be built in the fifteenth century.
The Odawara-jo Castle first appeared on the main stage of the Japanese
History in the Sengoku Periode (the Warring States Period). In 1495, Soun
Hojo (the founder of Go-Hojo Clan
) seized the Odawara Castle in the western Kanagawa Prefecture from the
Omori Clan with fraud. After Soun moved to Odawara, he developed his influence
through the area of Kanagawa Prefecture actively and aggressively, and
his clan had ruled it almost 100 years around the Kanto Region. Soun and
his descendants reconstructed the castle as a flatland-mountain castle
and the length of the barriers of the Odawara Castle was finally 9 km long,
so it was developed as the one of the largest castle in the Sengoku Period.
Moreover, the 3rd lord Ujiyasu Hojo
, the grandchild of Soun had completely protected his territory from several
attackings by Kenshin Uesugi
at Echigo-no-kuni, Shingen Takeda at Kai-no-kuni and so on, so it was
called the impregnable castle. However in 1590, Hideyoshi Toyotomi
who was the Kanpaku Dajodaijin (the supreme minister and chancellor) won
the Siege of Odawara, and he built the Ishigakiyama Castle on the way of
Tokai-do road near Mt.Hakone, on the west side of the Odawara Castle in
a night to show his power. The Hojo Clan recognized themselves and disappointed
at their lesser power to fight against Hideyoshi, and gave up, then the
Odawara-jo Castle was opened. So the Go-Hojo Clan lost the war and ruined.
After that, the Odawara-jo castle belonged to Ieyasu Tokugawa
and the Tokugawa Clan.
During Edo Period
was of course the castle town of the Odawara-jo Castle, and also it was
most flourished post town in Tokai-do fifty-three post towns. The lords
owning the Odawara-jo Castle were given some important roles to protect
. Odawara was the western barrier of Edo, so the Edo Bakufu
chose reliable daimyos in hereditary vassalage to the Tokugawa such as
Okubo, Abe and Inaba.
Now the Odawara-jo Castle is designated as the Historic Landmark by the National Government, and its garden is covered with full of plum blossoms in February every year.