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Japan Castles On The Air (JACOTA)

Castle 11 Amagasaki Castle....Covid steps in and disrupts operation

Greg Cook, JO3SLK

I visited Amagasaki castle late last year to take pics and plan my JACOTA operation there. I was planning on operating this month from my car, possible with my IC-7300 to have more output power, but unfortunately circumstances changed. The Omicron virus infections exploded in the Kansai area, registering over 6,000 daily cases in Osaka and 3,000 cases in Hyogo. Amagasaki is near the border of these two prefectures. New restrictions have been put in place, and even without them I decided it was not in my best interests to take any chances. When I operate, there are lots of people who approach me and ask about what I am doing....many ask, “is this Amateur radio?” I normally stop and explain about the antenna system, radio, and the articles I write for FB News. I sometimes show them the articles from previous castle visit on my cell phone. They ask a lot of questions, and it is enjoyable to talk with them....but not when Covid is spreading. I cannot just roll up my car window and ignore them, so I decided it was best to just postpone operating until the Covid situation changes.

However, the castles are interesting to me, and I think might also be interesting to the readers, so I have presented Amagasaki castle in pictures, some history, and photos of the castle’s renovation. I hope you all find it interesting too, and when it is safe and allowed, visit Amagasaki jo!

History of the castle

Amagasaki Castle was built in 1617 by Toda Ujikane. It completely enclosed an earlier Sengoku period castle built by the Hosokawa clan under Hideyoshi. Amagasaki Castle was located at a strategic point where 2 rivers flow into the ocean. with boat landings in the castle grounds so boats could enter the moats directly. The castle had three baileys and three water moats that spiraled around the honmaru bailey which housed a four level main keep and large 3 level yagura. The castle was dismantled in 1873 under the Castle Abolishment act. (History courtesy of Jcastle at

Additional history of the castle

The original Amagasaki castle had three baileys and three water moats. When the castle was demolished, much of the material was used in a nearby ocean break wall. The castle was rebuilt, with construction beginning in April 2018 and completed in March 2019. In mid-2018 all of the exterior, including the ornate third-story roof, were completed. Because of the covid pandemic, I did not go inside the castle, but I have read that you can experience Japanese sword fighting and gunnery inside. You can also rent costumes and take photos as the lord, princess, or samurai of Amagasaki Castle.

Historical structures at the castle

The main Tenshu of Amagasaki castle.

The white castle walls and very clean Ishigaki stone walls are quite a striking difference from other castles I have visited, due to the fairly recent reconstruction and regular maintenance.

This is a view of the opposite side of the castle, with the entrance visible....ground level with the wooden doors.

There is a very large ground, very green, with plenty of room for events.

Moats and baileys

The castle Tenshu (keep) with part of a moat.

The Honmaru bailey.

The grounds are very well kept and the walls in the back separate the Honmaru with what seems to be part of another one of the three moats.

Very decorative pine trees next to the wall.

The back wall extends the rest of the block, with an administrative building above it. To the right is the Shoge river, which I believe was part of the moat system.

The back side of the castle leading to the Honmaru bailey.

There is a very convenient parking lot next to the castle, and this is where I was planning to operate from....the inside of my car, to stay out of the cold!


As I mentioned, I was planning on operating from my car in the adjacent parking lot. I thought I would setup my Buddipole® tripod and vertical antenna next to the car, or possible use the Diamond HFxCL series of mobile whip antennas I have. But, that did not happen, because of the Covid situation.

I have Diamond HFxCL whips for 40, 20, 15 and 6 meters

Next JACOTA operation

The next castle I could operate from could possibly be Kishiwada castle, in Kishiwada city, near the Kansai International airport, which I also visited it late last year to take pics and do some planning. Or, I might find another interesting castle closer to home, or I might write about a battery case project I have been building for use with the IC-7300. With the spread of the Omicron covid variant, I might even have to put castle visits on hold for a while.

Kishiwada castle

What will the next JACOTA article be about? Be sure to check out the next FB News issue to find out. Until then, best 73.

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