|The ruin of Yuzuki-jo Castle|
The ruin of Yuzuki-jo Castle
Today, this area has become a park named Dogo Park and attracts lots of vititors
throuout the year, especially in spring , for people can enjoy watching cherry
blossoms here. But in old days,until the end of the 16th century, there was a
castle built on the hill in the center of the park.
The castle was called Yuzuki-jo Castle, the fortress by the Kono family, which
had been the rulers of this district for a long time. To be more exact, for 250
years from the early 14th century to the warring states period of the late 16th
century. That means the place around here was one of the cultural,military and
political centers of Iyo province, presen-day Ehime prefecture.
According to an old document, the castle was surrounded by double moats,
that is, an outer moat and an inner moat. And there were two gates, each
in the east and west.
(And there was a front gate, ote-mon, on the esat side and the back gate,karamete
-mon,on the west side. )
The castle could be classified as hirayam-jo, because it was built on a hill on the
plain.That style was a typical one in those days.
The whole area of the park extends 350m north to south, and 300m east to west,
which means it is almost square shape.
The Kono family
The Kono clan was a powerful family based in the area then called
Kazahaya-Gun Kono-GoKono, which is present-day Hojo district.
Due to his victories in the battle between the Taira and Minamoto clans
in the early 13th century, Kono Michinobu (道信） became an influential figure
within the Kamakura Shogunate,giving him a commanding authority of
Iyo province, which is present-day Ehime Prefecture.
Although the Kono family lost influence in the "Jokyu Rebellion" of 1221,
Kono Michiari （道有） played an important role in turning back the Mongol
Invasion of 1281, and was later able to build a firm power base in the region.
In the early 14th century, Kono Michimori （道盛）moved their headquarters
from Kono-Gun to this Dogo and bulit a castle here. Although there was
a conflict within the family and an attck by other family, they managed to
maintain their control over the region. However, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who
was going to unify the nation, was invading Iyo province and actually his
vassal Kobayashi Takakage （隆景）defeated Kono Michinao （道直）in 1585,
putting an end to the Kono family's rule.
Buddhism priest Ippen
Ippen was born as a Kono family member but became a Buddhist priest
and founded the Ji sect, one of the major schools of Buddhism in the