Ogura Castle (小倉城) is a Sengoku-era hilltop castle located in Tokigawa Town, Saitama Prefecture. It stretched over three mountain ridges and was situated just 600 metres from the Tsuki River, forming a natural stronghold that allowed to monitor the traffic on the river. It was fortified with elaborate stonewalls, an unusual feat for most Sengoku castles in the Chichibu region.
The map is based on Google Earth. The location of the enclosures may not be completely accurate.
It is not entirely clear who constructed the original castle. Some claim it was Toyama Mitsukage (遠山光影), a vassal of the Hōjō, whose family were also castellans of Edo Castle, while others say it was the Ueda clan, the lords of Matsuyama Castle, retainers of the Ōgigayatsu Uesugi.
Ogura Castle was built in a strategic position that protected the nearby Kamakura Highway (鎌倉街道 Kamakura Kaidō) and was part of the Hōjō network of castles that defended the Kantō plain. The most unusual characteristic of this castle was its massive stone walls which were rarely used in castles in the Kantō region.
It is most convenient to access the castle by car, driving through a forestry road on the south side. This is the entrance of the castle site:
The castle was renkaku style (連郭式 renkaku-shiki): honmaru and ninomaru are arranged side by side, causing the depth of the castle to increase, but thereby exposing the sides and rear of the honmaru. The castle was more vulnerable to attacks on areas other than the central gate.
Renraku-style castle (Source)
This is the koguchi (虎口, an entrance of a castle which usually has elaborate devices to prevent enemies from invasion, literally the "mouth of the tiger"). It is hard to recognise on the photograph, but the earthwork on the left was the defence against enemies.
The elevated san-no-maru (三の丸, third or outer bailey).
The inner bailey (本丸 honmaru); although I thought it was not necessary to cut the trees, the cleared space allowed an excellent impression of how big the inner bailey once was.
The unique characteristic of the castle was its stone walls found in several places.
The koguchi on the northern side of the first enclosure.