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Explore Gifu Castle: Ancient Fortress on Hill

Gifu Castle is a Japanese castle located in the city of Gifu, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Along with Mount Kinka and the Nagara River, it is one of the main symbols of the city. The castle is also known as Inabayama Castle . It was designated a National Historic Site in 2011.


Inariyama Castle

Formerly known as Inariyama Castle, this castle was the residence of  Saito Dosan, a famous conspirator and Mino viper during the Warring States period. After the fall of the Saito family, Oda Nobunaga took over the castle and renamed it Gifu Castle, beginning his reign of power. Gifu Castle was strategically located on a high hill overlooking the Ono Plain (Nagoya area).

One of the tallest castles

Gifu Castle, the symbol of Gifu City, is a three-layer, four-floor structure with an exhibition room for historical materials inside the castle and an observatory from upstairs.
Gifu Castle is one of the tallest castles in existence today (329 meters above sea level), and from the top floor, the majestic Nagara River, famous for its cormorant fishing, can be seen flowing through the city below. To the east, Mt. Ena and Mt. Kiso-Mitake offer a magnificent view, and to the north, Norikura and the Japan Alps line the mountain. To the west are the mountain ranges of Ibuki, Yoro, and Suzuka, and to the south is the rich, open Nobi Plain, with a panoramic view of the Kiso River flowing into Ise Bay.



The Gifu Castle Museum is located just east of the castle tower. The former armory and food storage area have been reconstructed in a corner turreted castle structure and house exhibits of historical documents, armor, swords, and other significant materials related to the Warring States Period (late 15th to late 16th century) and the Edo Period (1603 - 1868).

A cable car up the mountain

Prior to the Battle of Sekigahara, the vanguard of the Eastern Army, which consisted of former members of the Toyotomi family, fought Hidenobu Oda, the grandson of Nobunaga Oda, who was a subordinate of the Western Army, and conquered Gifu Castle in order to welcome Ieyasu Tokugawa to the city.
Gifu Castle is now a civic park with a cable car up the mountain.


Sekigahara: The Battle that Shaped Japan


On an October day in 1600, in the southwestern Gifu town of Sekigahara—then a dividing line between eastern and western Japanese culture—centuries of bloody struggle came to a head. Two armies clashed, the eastern forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu and the western forces of Ishida Mitsunari. Though outnumbered, Tokugawa triumphed and would go on to unify Japan, establishing the new government of Edo in 1603 and ushering in centuries of peace. Still the largest battle ever on Japanese soil, Sekigahara is now part of the World Battlefields Summit Joint Declaration with Gettysburg in the U.S. and Waterloo in Belgium.

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