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Iwakura Castle was a hira-jiro, or flat-land castle, located in the plains that would become Iwakura City, Aichi Prefecture. At one time, it rivaled Kiyosu Castle in size and stature. Constructed in 1479, it covered an area of 900 meters north to south and 400 meters east to west. Two sets of moats encircled the castle: the outer moat, about 10 meters wide, and the inner moat, about 15 meters wide, separated by a 10-meter-wide strip. These moats surrounded the Honjo, or main castle precinct, which measured about 170 meters north to south and 90 meters east to west. To the north and directly east of the castle flowed the Gojo River.

The castle's Ote-mon, or main gates, faced southeast, with the rear gates to the north. Directly south and to the northeast were large areas, roughly the size of the central precinct, designated for samurai housing.

During the Sengoku period, Owari Province was ruled by two main factions of the Oda clan. The Iwakura Oda clan held the northern districts of Owari, while the Kiyosu Oda clan ruled the southern areas. The famed Oda Nobunaga belonged to the Shobata Oda clan, a branch of the Kiyosu Oda family.

Nobunaga increased his power by defeating and overtaking the Kiyosu Oda. In opposition, the Iwakura Oda formed an alliance with Nobunaga's brother, Nobuyuki. However, they were defeated by Nobunaga at the Battle of Ukino in 1558, after which Iwakura Castle was attacked.

In June 1558, Oda Nobunaga surrounded Iwakura Castle with palisades, set the castle town ablaze, and placed it under a siege that lasted for two to three months. During the ensuing battle, Yamauchi Moritoyo, a vassal of the Iwakura Oda, was killed. His son, Katsutoyo, was temporarily unemployed until joining Nobunaga’s forces around 1567, later becoming the master of Kakegawa and Kochi Castles.

Nobunaga continuously launched fire-arrows and fired rifles into the castle, employing various tactics to wear down the defenders. Eventually, the besieged Iwakura forces found it too difficult to hold the castle and decided to surrender. The defenders left and dispersed, and shortly thereafter, Nobunaga had the castle destroyed, returning to his castle at Kiyosu, having achieved the unification of Owari Province.

Unfortunately, nothing remains of Iwakura Castle except for a monument standing on the site of the rear gates to the main enclosure.

 


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