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Osaka: Ameyama Ruined Castle

Located on Mt. Ameyama or simply Ameyama in Kumatori-town in Osaka Prefecture in Japan, Ameyama Ruined Castle is also referred to as the Rain Fortress.

It is said that the Rain Fortress was built sometime in 1346 by Hashimoto Masataka of the Kusunoki Clan. Its purpose was to serve as one of the defensive lines in the Kinolzumi border during the times of the Southern and Northern Dynasties during the Muromachi Period. The Rain Fortress also guards the pilgrims that pass through the Kokawa highway.
Map of Ameyama showing the castle
Pathway up to the ruined castle
Upon that gate is the ruined castle...
Before entering the torii gate...
Whaaat! No ruined castle?!?
The plaque that probably describes the history of the place
The Ameyama Shrine is near the ruins
The visitor's cabin
Although it is a fortress, it was also referred to as a castle. Aside from that, it is locally called a yamashiro which means mountain top castle. It is believed that the Rain Fortress was destroyed or abandoned sometime in the early 17th century. Throughout time, Mother Nature reclaimed what was originally hers. Today only a marker is all that remains of the Rain Fortress. However, the Ameyama Shrine and a visitor's cabin would still welcome those who'd want to see where the former "castle" once stood.
Only benches and some markers could be found at where the castle was supposed to be standing...
The up close picture of the shrine

I first learned about the Ameyama Ruined Castle from a signage on the road to Eiraku Dam. Since I was intrigued (or simply because I wanted to see a Japanese castle so badly), I decided to visit it after I tour the Okuyama Ameyama Natural Park. All along I thought it was an easy trip but actually it took me more than an hour to reach the torii gate. Honestly, I was disappointed at first because there was no castle ruins. Luckily the Ameyama Shrine and the beautiful view from the peak made my trip worthwhile. 

Overall, visiting the ruins might ruin your expectations but keep in mind that you'd conquer the peak of Mt. Ameyama if you do so.

Getting there:

Ride the #92 Nankai Bus from Nankai Main Line in Izumizano Station  bound for Osaka University of health and Sports Sciences. From the University the jump of point is just a 30 minute walk away.
Just follow the trail
Another option is to ride the  #90 Nankai Bus bound for Okakita. Board down at the town of Nariai. From there the jump off point is just 15 minutes away.

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