Saimyoji Castle 西明寺城

Picture Donated by ART
Founder Mashiko Clan
Yuki
Year 1058-1065
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Takadateyama-jo
Structure Kuruwa, Dorui, Horikiri
Admin's Rating ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Location Mashiko Town, Tochigi Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Mashiko Station on the Moka Line; Taxi (I went by personal transportation)
Visitor Info. 24/7 free | Time Required: 35 mins
Notes I came to this site because I was visiting Saimyōji and happen to see it marked on my map. I climbed the mountain behind the temple and found only a single board (in Japanese only) about the castle, from which I gleaned its history. There are no sign posts indicating where the castle is and no markers indicating castle features at the site itself. Walking around I found the “shiroato hiroba” which I took for the honmaru. The honmaru atop the hill has a ring of deformed dorui (earthen embankments) surrounding it. There is at least one sub-bailey between the honmaru and the largest visibly remaining gate ruin. At the base of the hill is a trench, looks like a horikiri. Unfortunately it was a futile effort trying to photograph these details because young bamboo blanketed everything. Crossing the horikiri to climb to the main bailey we passed through a bamboo thicket. Luckily the honmaru is cleared except for a few trees and boulders. Only see this site if you visit Saimyōji. There is actually some old looking ishigaki beneath the pagoda (1536) at the temple.

Profile and photos contributed by ART

History Originally called Takadateyamajō, the castle was the base of the Mashiko clan, originally called the Ki clan. The Mashiko went to war with the Utsunomiya clan during the Sengoku Period and were defeated, whereupon their mountaintop castle was abandoned.

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Mashiko Town, Tochigi Prefecture
Saimyoji Castle views