Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Imjin War book cover Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877

Tanba Kameyama Castle

Images: © Kameoka City


Kameyama Domain

1608 - 1609

Maeda Clan

50,000 Koku

1609 - 1621

Okabe Clan

32,000 Koku

松平 (大給)
1621 - 1634

Matsudaira (Ōgyū) Clan

22,000 Koku

1634 - 1648

Suganuma Clan

41,000 Koku

松平 (藤井)
1648 - 1686

Matsudaira (Fujii) Clan

38,000 Koku

1686 - 1697

Kuze Clan

50,000 Koku

1697 - 1702

Inoue Clan

47,000 Koku

1702 - 1748

Aoyama Clan

50,000 Koku

松平 (形原)
1748 - 1869

Matsudaira (Katahara) Clan

50,000 Koku

Tanba Kameyama Castle is classified as a hilltop castle, and is located in Kyōto. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Tanba Province. It is associated with the Akechi clan. Dates in use: 1578 - 1873.

It was Oda Nobunaga, the first of Japan's three great unifiers, that directed Akechi Mitsuhide to subdue the clans north-west of Kyōto in the the 1570's. And, subdue he did. Thereupon he built a series of fortresses to better oversee his domain. Just four years later he would lose possession of his lands and his head.

The whens and whats of this castle can be found in the time line below. One item of particular note not there is that it was this castle that had the very first Sōtōgata-style main tower. The Sōtōgata is best imagined as each layer formed by a box (containing rooms) & a pyramid for its roof.

Google Map Views (グーグルマップ)

Best view ベストビュー
Orbit view 軌道ビュー


1578 The castle was built by, Akechi Mitsuhide, a guy voted by classmates Most likely to betray his lord and lose his head 13 days later to some part-time samurai. Spooky, innit?
1582 The Battle of Yamazaki (Shōryūji Castle). Having attacked & killed his lord, Mitsuhide was in-turn attacked & defeated by the armies of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
1591 Overseen by incoming lord Ogasawara Hideaki, the central tower was reconstructed, the three-layered tower being replaced by a five-layered one.
1595 The Maeda clan were transferred here.
1609 The Okabe clan were transferred here. Some mystery surrounds the dates & status of the main tower over the following years, though it is said that one was transferred from Imabari castle and rebuilt here.
1621 The Ōgyū branch of the Matsudaira clan were transferred here.
1634 The Suganuma clan were transferred here.
1648 The Fujii branch of the Matsudaira clan were transferred here.
1686 The Kuze clan were transferred here.
1697 The Inoue clan were transferred here.
1702 The Aoyama clan were transferred here.
1748 The Katahara branch of the Matsudaira clan were transferred here.
1870 The name of the domain was changed from Kameyama to Kameoka to avoid confusion with the similarly named domain in Ise Province.
1873 The castle was decommissioned.
1877 All buildings were either torn down or sold off.
1920 The lands were sold to a religious order. Alterations were made to the castle ruins when establishing roads & buildings within the castle grounds.
1935 Efforts were made by the cult to restore sections of the castle.