2014.9.11
Okayama Soja City

A hike around an ancient castle? Ki no jō (Ki Castle) : Sōja City, Okayama

 
A 1300-year-old castle in Okayama?!
Built in the 7th century atop Mt. Kinojō, Ki no jō (Ki Castle) is perched about 400m above sea level in grounds that cover a 30ha area, about the same size as 23 Hanshin Koshien Stadiums.  
 
 
Around the time it was built, there were about 20 strategically positioned castles erected from Kyushu to Setouchi. Known as “Kodaisanjō (ancient era mountain castles), few records survive to the present day that describe their purpose or how they looked. In this regard, Ki Castle is a rare Kodaisanjō. Due to years of excavation, its appearance has been revealed and it is currently being restored to its original specifications based on the excavation results.
 
 
 
 
The best part is the restored “City Gate”.
Although it was the castle’s main point of defense, its size is still surprising!
The walls of the gate were built with a method much utilized at the time called “Hanchiku (Rammed earth)”.
 
 
 
 
While ‘commentary boards’ provide information at certain interesting points around the top of the mountain, a reconstructed stone pavement marks the trail.
 
 
 
 
If you take your time to slowly absorb the atmosphere and great views, it takes about 2 hours to complete this very pleasant hiking course.
    
 
    
 
 
– Ki Castle (Japanese)
 
You can get to the entrance of Ki Castle by car and park for free. The visitor center is situated near the entrance and there is a display board that provides information on the castle. If you’re interested, you can watch an easy-to-understand video that will further improve your understanding of the castle before setting off on your hike. 
 

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