Type: Mountain Castle
Built in 1240
Class: Existed Remaining Castle
... exist since 1600, and extended in 1681. It is a keep of two layered two stories building. In side, all of the defense system, such as "Iwaotoshi" or "Gun windows" are preserved in great condition.
History of Bitchu Matsuyama Castle and Mt. Gagyu
Mt. Gagyu is designated as a national forest. It is also valuable as a natural botanical garden, containing more than 1,000 different species of plants.
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is located on Mt. Gagyu at 430m above the sea level, making it the highest mountain castle in Japan. The ruins of the castle, Tenshu-kaku, keeps and a section of the surrounding mud wall have been designated as important cultural properties.
The evolution of Matsuyama Castle began when Akiba Shibenobu built a fort on Omatsuyama in 1240. Later Takahashi Muneyasu, the lord of this domain, enlarged the fort to include Komatsuyama, the current site of Matsuyama Castle.
When Miura Motochika became feudal lord of the domain, Matsuyama castle was enlarged again and site extended to cover the entire mountain. With help of the Mori clan, Miura Motochika conquered the whole Bitch area, but was forced from the castle and killed when the clan discovered that he had betrayed them.
In 1600, Kobori Masatsugu and his sone masakazu came to this area as the officers of the Tokugawa Government and repaired the castle as a part of the efforts to turn Matsuyama into a castle town. The next feudal lord, Mizunoya Katsutaka, rebuilt Tenshu-Kaku, Keeps, and other gates in addition to building Onegoya house on the southern side of Mt. Gagyu where public affairs were administrated. The Mizunoya contributed to the development of the area by arranging the castle town and expanding the Tamashima district. In 1744, Itakura Katsuzumi, the lord of Matsuyama Castle, followed by a succession of eight Itakura lords who ruled the castle for a period spanning 126 years.
The order to abolish castles early in Meiji Period left the castle to ruins, but a citizens' group was set up in 1929 to preserved the castle and repair the keep. After this work was completed, the Takahashi City authorities repaired Tenshu-Kaku, Keeps, mud walls. Matsuyama Castle was designated as an important cultural property in 1950, and in 1957, the government began restoring the castle to
its original state.