Gujo Hachiman Castle is said to be the most beautiful castle located on a Mt. Haku with natural moat created by the Yoshida River and the Kodara River. This castle is located in Gujo city in the center of Gifu prefecture. Mt. Haku is one of three most famous mountains in Japan, along with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Hakone.
The Oldest Reconstructed Castle within Wooden Architecture
This castle is the oldest remaining wooden structure and was reconstructed in 1933. The white exterior is described as the most beautiful castle on Mt. Haku. There is a breathtaking view from the top of the castle of Gujo Hachiman and Okumino mountains.
Every year in November, there is an event called “Momiji festival in Gujo Hachiman Castle (Maple Festival)”. The castle is illuminated only at night and the autumn leaves standout even more. In September, there is the Gujo Odori Festival and people attending can dance to traditional Japanese music and experience a festival from the Edo period.
City of Water
The town of Gujo Hachiman is also said to be the “City of Water”. That’s why you will see waterways all throughout town. There are stone pathways over the rivers resemble towns from the Edo period. Each season offers something different to enjoy. In the spring there is cherry blossoms, greenery in the summer, autumn leaves, and snow in the winter.
Castle in the Sky
When surrounded by a sea of clouds, it is like the castle is floating in the sky, which is why this castle has been called “Castle in the Sky”. In the winter, the sea of clouds in rare so it’s difficult to predict when it is going to happen.
The Legend of Chikaraishi
There are 2 stones at the castle, which were reportedly carried by a powerful man named “Akahige Sakubee (赤髭作兵衛)”. Akahige died just after he was praised by a magistrate, so the stones remain unused. In 1933, they were designated as a memorial called “Chikaraishi (力石)”. You can see Chikaraishi in the garden at the castle. Each stone is about 100 centimeters long and 75 centimeters wide. Each one weights about 350 kgs. It is amazing that one man carried these by himself!
A Temple Dedicated to Kannon That Enshrine Oyoshi
It is said that Oyoshi (およし), a woman with unrivaled beauty, became a human sacrifice when building the tower of Gujo Hachiman Castle. Everybody is at their wit’s end because it was extremely difficult to build a castle in a steep mountain and stone walls were repeatedly collapsed, so they decided to choose a human sacrifice, past habit in those days and Oyoshi was chosen.
People building the castle had difficulties such as stone walls repeatedly collapsing, so the people decided to use a human sacrifice hoping to improve conditions. Oyoshi became the human sacrifice and after that building successfully finished. With that, the spirit of Oyoshi is enshrined and there is a legend when children say, “Oyoshi, Oyoshi” and clap their hands, it is said that an echo of crying from Oyoshi can be heard.
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Gujo Hachiman Castle
Address: 659 Ichinodaira, Yanagi-machi, Hachiman-cho, Gujo City, Gifu Prefecture
Access: 13 minute on bus ride (Mame bus red route) from Gujo-Hachiman Station of Nagaragawa railway, then 20-minute walk from Jokamachi Plaza(bus stop)
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (March – May)
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM (June – August)
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (November – February)
*Closed from December 20th to January 10th
310 yen (Adults)
150 yen (Children)
Website: Gujo Hachiman Castle (Japanese)