Odawara Outer Enclosures (Sougamae)

Odawara castle is very important historically as the site of the last major battle between the warlords during Japan’s Warring States period from around 1467 to 1615.
To protect the city around the castle, rather than building a stone wall the Hojo clan decided to incorporate Odawara’s natural geographical features, including the steep and slippery slopes on the west side, by adding embankments and moats to make them even more difficult to breach.

The castle therefore grew to have one of the largest outer enclosures in Japan in the feudal period, stretching more than 9 km around the city, and was able to resist the siege by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and an army of 300,000 in 1590 for 100 days before finally capitulating.

You can still walk round the remains of some of the outer enclosure fortifications today in the west part of Odawara city.
There are information boards with some English explanations at several of the main defensive points.

◆ How to get Odawara from Tokyo
By Odakyu Railway
Take Odakyu Railway from Shinjuku Station, normal express doesn’t require any supplement.
The Romancecar limited express is confortable and fast, you must purchase seat reservation ticket before boarding the train.
Most Romancecars leave from Odakyu Line’s Shinjuku Station, but some operate via the Chiyoda subway line, stopping at Kita-senju, Otemachi, Kasumigaseki and Omotesando.

By JR (Japan Railways) via Yokohama
By JR local or rapid trains on the JR Tokaido Main Line (stopping at Tokyo, Shimbashi and Shinagawa Stations) or the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line (stopping at Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and Shibuya Stations).
Also, JR Tokaido Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) you can access Odawara in about half an hour from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station.