Trenches

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Trenches / 空堀

This is a subtype of Features

Trenches, earthworks, empty moats, or dry moats cover a wide range of trench like fortifications around castles. In flatland castles they are often similar in structure to water moats but without the water. Both water moats or dry trenches have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. it can be harder for intruders to hide in a dry moat and no natural water sounds to disguise entry. The slick clay sides of many castles in the Kanto region were especially slippery and difficult to climb.

When you see a lot of photos on this site or visit these locations yourself you may think these trenches wouldn't be much of a deterrent but keep in mind that they have probably filled with leaves and dirt and been eroded significantly over the last 400 years. What is now a meter or less deep may have been two or three times that deep at one time.

Some terms related to trenches that you may see include:

Horikiri (堀切): this is a deep trench cut across a mountain ridge to impede attackers from easily climbing the ridge. You see a lot of these on the path to mountaintop castles and it's usually the first sign that you've entered a castle. Unless a signs there to point them out or you are used to seeing them you might not notice them but if you think about it, such a sudden steep dip in the ridge is unnatural. Kuma4.jpg Washio26.jpg Yokobori (横堀): a horizontal trench across a slope or mountain. It can also provide an easier route for defenders to cross a slope. Koshigoe9.jpg Iwabitsu33.jpg Tatebori (竪堀): a vertical trench running up and down a slope. It can be used to impede attackers from easily crossing a slope and can force them into a kill zone. Iwabitsu34.jpg Haibara16.jpg Unejotatebori (畝状竪堀): several tatebori across one slope on a mountaintop castle. They may be difficult to see if the are running down the steep side of a castle you may not be able to get to them. Jofukuji26.jpg Kuma23.jpg Shojibori (障子堀): a wider trench with square depressions carved out. It forces attackers to either walk the narrow ridges and be easily fired upon or scale up and down the walls putting them in vulnerable positions and using energy. Yamanaka7.jpg Yamanaka8.jpg Unebori (畝堀): a trench with ridges across them. This is similar in design to the shojibori but instead of a "waffle" like design it is only a single row of dugout depressions. Kawamura3.jpg Kawamura9.jpg


Dry Moats
<a href="/photos/view/347-Nagoya-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/nagoya/nagoya11-h.jpg" /></a> Nagoya Castle <a href="/photos/view/"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/nagoya/nagoya16-h.jpg" /></a>Nagoya Castle <a href="/photos/view/106-Sakura-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/sakura/sakura2-h.jpg" /></a>Sakura Castle <a href="/photos/view/789-Mito-Castle"><img src="http://media.jcastle.info/images/mito/mito1-h.jpg" /></a>Mito Castle

Castles with Trenches

  1. Akizuki Castle
  2. Akutagawasan Castle
  3. Ansho Castle
  4. Aoyagi Castle
  5. Aoyama Castle
  6. Arikoyama Castle
  7. Asaba Castle
  8. Ashigara Castle
  9. Asonuma Castle
  10. Asuke Castle
  11. Azuchi Castle
  12. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
  13. Bitchu Takamatsu Castle
  14. Chigasaki Castle
  15. Chihaya Castle
  16. Echizen Ohno Castle
  17. Fujihashi Castle (Tokyo)
  18. Fujita Castle
  19. Fukazawa Castle
  20. Funaoka Castle
  21. Futamata Castle
  22. Futoge Castle
  23. Ganjaku Castle
  24. Gassan Toda Castle
  25. Gifu Castle
  26. Gion Castle
  27. Gobara Castle
  28. Gokan Castle
  29. Hachigata Castle
  30. Hachioji Castle
  31. Hagi Castle
  32. Haibara Castle
  33. Hakusan Castle
  34. Hakusan Castle (Harima)
  35. Hamada Castle
  36. Hanamaki Castle
  37. Hanawa Castle
  38. Hanazono Castle
  39. Hanazono Mitake Castle
  40. Hasedo Castle
  41. Hayashikojo Castle
  42. Hayashiohjo Castle
  43. Hekirichi Jinya
  44. Hirai Castle
  45. Hirai Kanayama Castle
  46. Hyakusaiji Castle
  47. Ichinomiya Castle
  48. Imai Castle
  49. Inukai Castle
  50. Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle
  51. Ishigami Castle
  52. Isobe Castle
  53. Iwabitsu Castle
  54. Iwamura Castle
  55. Izu Nagahama Castle
  56. Jindaiji Castle
  57. Jofukuji Castle
  58. Kanaiyama Castle
  59. Kanao Yogaisan Castle
  60. Kanayama Castle
  61. Kanazawa Castle
  62. Kanegasaki Castle (Iwate)
  63. Kannonji Castle
  64. Karakai Castle
  65. Karasawayama Castle
  66. Karasuyama Castle
  67. Kasama Castle
  68. Kaseyama Castle
  69. Kashiwara Castle
  70. Kasugayama Castle
  71. Kasumi Castle
  72. Katsunuma Castle
  73. Katsunumashi Yakata
  74. Kawahara Castle
  75. Kawamura Castle
  76. Kazurayama Castle
  77. Kirihara Castle
  78. Kogane Castle
  79. Kokokuji Castle
  80. Komaki Castle
  81. Komoro Castle
  82. Konomine Castle
  83. Konosumiyama Castle
  84. Koshigoe Castle
  85. Koyama Castle
  86. Kozukue Castle
  87. Kubota Castle
  88. Kuma Castle
  89. Kumamoto Castle
  90. Kunohe Castle
  91. Kurobane Castle
  92. Kururi Castle
  93. Kuwabara Castle
  94. Mariko Castle
  95. Masugatayama Castle
  96. Masuo Castle
  97. Matsuida Castle
  98. Matsukura Castle
  99. Matsuo Castle
  100. Matsuyama Castle (Gunma)
  101. Matsuyama Castle (Saitama)
  102. Minagawa Castle
  103. Minokubi Castle
  104. Minowa Castle
  105. Mito Castle
  106. Morioka Castle
  107. Moriya Castle
  108. Moriyama Castle
  109. Moroto Castle
  110. Motosakura Castle
  111. Motosu Castle
  112. Mukaihaguroyama Castle
  113. Mumo Castle
  114. Musashi Masugatayama Castle
  115. Mutsu Iwasaki Castle
  116. Nabekura Castle
  117. Naegi Castle
  118. Nagashino Castle
  119. Nagoya Castle
  120. Nagurumi Castle
  121. Naka Castle
  122. Narisawa Castle
  123. Nasu Kanda Castle
  124. Niitakayama Castle
  125. Nirayama Castle
  126. Nochiseyama Castle
  127. Numata Castle
  128. Oba Castle
  129. Obata Castle
  130. Obata Jin'ya
  131. Obiki Castle
  132. Oda Castle
  133. Odaka Castle
  134. Odani Castle
  135. Odano Castle
  136. Odawara Castle
  137. Oeda Castle
  138. Ogawa Castle
  139. Ogimachi Castle
  140. Ogoe Castle
  141. Ogura Castle
  142. Ohkusa Castle
  143. Okami Castle
  144. Okkoshi Castle
  145. Oko Castle
  146. Omori Castle
  147. Oogo Castle
  148. Oohara Castle
  149. Oomizo Castle
  150. Ori Castle
  151. Osaka Castle (Ibaraki)
  152. Otawara Castle
  153. Owari Ohno Castle
  154. Rikan Castle
  155. Saimyoji Castle
  156. Sakasai Castle
  157. Sakata Castle
  158. Sakura Castle
  159. Sanada Palace
  160. Sanadahonjo Castle
  161. Sano Castle
  162. Sasao Castle
  163. Sasayama Castle
  164. Sashiki Castle
  165. Seiryuin
  166. Sekinomori Castle
  167. Senpuku Castle
  168. Setagaya Castle
  169. Shakujii Castle
  170. Shigiyama Castle
  171. Shimizu Castle
  172. Shinpu Castle
  173. Shishiku Castle
  174. Shiwa Castle
  175. Soma Nakamura Castle
  176. Sugaya Yakata
  177. Sugiyama Castle
  178. Suwahara Castle
  179. Tage Castle
  180. Takai Castle
  181. Takane Castle
  182. Takatenjin Castle
  183. Takato Castle
  184. Takatome Castle
  185. Takatori Castle
  186. Takatsuki Castle (Tokyo)
  187. Takeda Castle
  188. Taki Castle
  189. Takiyama Castle
  190. Tamaru Castle
  191. Tanagura Castle
  192. Tateyama Castle (Yamagata)
  193. Tatsuno Castle
  194. Tenjinyama Castle
  195. Tenpaku Castle
  196. Tobiyama Castle
  197. Toishi Castle
  198. Tokiwa Castle
  199. Tokura Castle
  200. Tonomi-no-saku
  201. Torigoe Castle
  202. Torinji Castle
  203. Tsukui Castle
  204. Tsumagi Castle
  205. Tsumago Castle
  206. Tsutsujigasaki Palace
  207. Tsuwano Castle
  208. Uda Matsuyama Castle
  209. Ueda Castle
  210. Uehara Castle
  211. Ushiku Castle
  212. Usui Castle
  213. Usuida Shukuuchi Fort
  214. Washi Castle
  215. Washio Castle
  216. Yagi Castle
  217. Yamabe Castle
  218. Yamagami Castle
  219. Yamagata Castle
  220. Yamagata Castle (Hitachi)
  221. Yamanaka Castle
  222. Yamazaki Castle
  223. Yanagawa Castle
  224. Yato Castle
  225. Yogaisan Castle
  226. Yoshida Castle
  227. Yoshida Castle (Ibaraki)
  228. Yoshinogari
  229. Yumurayama Castle
  230. Yunagaya Jin'ya
  231. Yuzawa Castle
  232. Yuzuki Castle
  233. Zen Castle
  234. Zeze Castle
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