1 Kisabe Castle
Kisabe Castle was a building which was constructed on a flat ground in the Sengoku period (1467 to 1603). The castle no longer exists now. But, we are allowed to walk around the place where Kisabe Castle was built. It is only Kisabe Castle that does not prohibit us from approaching to a historical castle remain in Osaka. You will be able to have a rare feeling that “I am standing on a battle field of the Sengoku period” at Kisabe Castle.
The rulers of the castle were Ukon Yasumi and his son, Shinhichiro. They were originally vassals of the Hatakeyama family who was one of feudal lords called “Shugo” in Kawachi Area. However, new power holders such as Hisahide Matsunaga (1510? ~ 1577) and Nobunaga Oda (1534 ~ 1582) emerged around the Yasumi’s territory. They signalled their allegiance not to Hayakeyama but to Matsunaga and Oda. The Yasumi family is not so familiar in Japanese history. But, they have a big and unforgettable impact on one page of the Sengoku period.
In Japanese history, Oda is well-known as a person who has united large part of Japan in the Sengoku period. On the other hand, Matsunaga is called “Sengoku no Kyoyu (a brutal but strong Samurai in the Sengoku period)”. Kisabe Castle is a historically important place where Oda has crashed with Matsunaga to gain full sovereignty in Kawachi Area.
At that time, Yukon Yasumi who controlled the castle was asked to become an ally from both camps. First, he was not able to determine which to choose. In the end, he decided to help Oda. However, Matsunaga was very upset about this decision and forced Ukon to kill himself. Although Matsunaga attempted to deprive the castle from the Yasumi family, Yukon’s son, Shinhichiro, beat his plot with Oda.
After the battle in Kisabe Castle, Matsunaga who lost his political influence in Kawachi Area retreated from the historical stage. On the other hand, Oda succeeded in gaining a right of control of the area and made a move to become the ruler of Japan. As mentioned above, Kisabe Castle no longer exists. But, the place is one of Katano’s significant cultural spots which tell us magnificent historical drama of the Sengoku period.
An excavation research of the castle shows roof tiles were used before Azuchi Castle was built by the order of Nobunaga Oda. In the Sengoku period, using roof tiles for a castle was regarded as a very progressive construction method. It can be said that Kisabe Castle employed a new style of Japanese castle at that time. If tracing back through the castle’s history from this approach, it shows us another fascinating story.
2 Katano’s Hills
About two thirds of the city is covered by hills. Konosan, Hatafuriyama, and Ryuosan are familiar as the Katano’s big three hills. Katano’s hills play a necessary role to feel a change of four seasons. They are coloured by cherry pink (spring), deep green (summer), and stunning red (autumn).
Furthermore, in Katano, there are a lot of rare cultural properties such as old mounded tombs which catch your heart. Those mounded tombs were built for the Mononobe family who was one of the major regional clans called “Gozoku” in the Kofun period (3rd century to 7th century). Maybe, the Katano’s hills were regarded as a special place to build old Shito-style tombs among Gozoku. Since the Kofun period, temples such as Shishikutsuji Temple and Hachiyorengeji Temple were constructed on the hills. The statue of Yakushinyorai in Shishikutsuji Temple is listed as Japanese national treasure and the statue of Amidanyorai in Hachiyorengeji Temple is a Japanese national important cultural property.
You can also see historical rockworks such as Kannon Iwa and the remains of Iwakurakaigenji Temple in Konosan. Perhaps, each hill had a specific religious place on the top.
Your travel would be a very memorial event if you enjoy not only Katano’s nature but also its historical background.
3 Rice Fields and Fireflies
Katano’s hills and rice fields always heal my body and soul. Particularly, I feel so after work in other cities. I grew up in central Hiroshima. There was no chance to see a natural landscape like Katano. When I started to live here, I come to like Katano’s rice fields which change colours from spring to autumn.
I was so impressed when I saw fireflies at Aiaibashi Bridge. They tell us that there are still beautiful nature and rice fields around residential areas in Katano. Such a brilliant environment is one of Katano’s travel spots I recommend. However, in recent years, Katano’s natural landscapes are gradually changing due to town development. Sometimes, it makes me feel sad.
City Officer of Section for Cultural Properties in Katano Education Board
Mr. Yoshida’s comment
“I studied archaeology at university.”