Revision as of 17:40, 29 October 2017 by Eric (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Trenches / 空堀

This is a subtype of Features

Trenches, ditches, empty moats, or dry moats are one type of earthworks that 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. For example, it can be harder for intruders to hide in a dry moat and there no natural water sounds that might disguise entry. The slick clay sides of many castles in the Kanto region were especially slippery and difficult to climb. I have had a difficult time even in hiking boots getting up only slight slope where there is no grass for traction. On the other hand, water moats, where feasible, can be a good psychological deterrent. Attackers don't know how deep they are or what is underneath. A wet intruder will likely leave a trail and they will need to expend more energy to get across.

When you see photos or visit these locations yourself you may think that these trenches are shallow and would not be much of a deterrent but keep in mind that they have filled with leaves and dirt and have 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 there are signs to point them out or you are familiar with seeing horikiri you might not notice them at all. But, if you think about it, such a sudden steep dip in a ridge is very 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 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 parallel tatebori across one slope on a mountaintop castle. They may be difficult to see if the are on a steep side of the castle that you cannot get to.

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 slick clay walls putting them in vulnerable positions and using a lot of physical energy. These are often attributed to the Hojo but the Hideyoshi's Osaka Castle had great shojibori too. Unfortunately you can not longer see them. The only really good shojibori you can see today are at Yamanaka Castle in Shizuoka but many more have been excavated and reburied over the years.

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

Empty Moats (空堀)

These are the moats you are more likely to see at flatland castles. They are similar in size and shape to water moats but without the water.

150px Sakura2.jpg Osaka22.jpg

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