Iwabitsu Castle 岩櫃城
Founder Takeda Shingen
Year 1563
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Azuma-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Local Historic Site
Location Higashiazuma, Gunma Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Gobara Sta. (Agatsuma Line), 40 min walk
Website Sanadamaru - Iwabitsu Castle
Visited April 29, 2016
Visitor Info. Mountain trails, open any time | Time Required: 75 mins
Notes Iwabitsu Castle is a place that I have wanted to go for years, but never got around to it. With the recent attention brought to it by the Taiga Drama Sanadamaru I thought it was finally time to visit. I'm glad I waited a bit because they've trimmed out many trees making it easier to see the ruins today. Some guides will tell you to start from Gunma Haramachi Station, but that is a long, boring uphill walk that will do nothing but tire you out by the time you get there. I would recommend to start from Gobara Station, visit Seiryuin if you have time and walk the "Sanada Road" to Iwabitsu Castle. It is a nice walk through the old town and starts from a higher elevation so that when you walk to Gunma Haramachi on your way home, it is all down hill from Iwabitsu Castle.
History There are a couple different theories as to when this castle was founded including the 14th C. by the Azuma clan and the 15th C. by the Saito. For awhile it was thought to have been most likely built by the Saito and taken over by Takeda Shingen, but when Takeda defeated the Saito their main castle was actually nearby Iwashita Castle. When Takeda defeated the Saito, some of the Saito clan holed up in nearby Takeyama Castle (Nakanojo township). Iwabitsu Castle was likely built by Takeda at this point in time to threaten Takeyama Castle where the last remnants of the Saito held out for over a year. Sanada Yukitaka was lord of the castle for this battle as well as the attack on Shiroi Castle. Afterwards the Sanada continued to hold the castle for Takeda as an important part of the defenses connecting Numata to Ueda and preventing incursions by Uesugi Kenshin into the Kanto region. The castle was in service until the One Castle per Country edict of 1615 when it was abandoned.
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Higashiazuma, Gunma Pref.
Iwabitsu Castle views
Large vertical trench Honmaru bailey
Tengumaru Nakajo Bailey
Trail to the Honmaru Ninomaru bailey
North masugata gate ruins Honmaru bailey earthen embankment
Honmaru trench Honmaru and earthen embankment
Honmaru bailey Honmaru bailey
Location of tower in the Honmaru West side of the Honmaru
Honmaru and trenches vertical trench
Honmaru trench View from the Ninomaru
Honmaru trench Honmaru trench and stairs
Honmaru trench Honmaru Yokobori trench
Small bailey and yokobori moat Yokobori trench and small bailey
Deep Honmaru tatebori trench Trench
Trench and trail to the honmaru trenches
Vertical trench Trench
Vertical trench Terraced baileys
Terraced baileys Ruins of a gate
castle entrance Lord's palace baileys
Bailey Gate ruins
Ideurafuchi Ruins of a checkpoint and watchtower