Azumi Nishiyama Castle
When Nishiyamajō was first built is unknown but its origins are thought to lie with the Nishina Clan. On the other side of the river is Nishina-Shinmeigū, a shrine of extreme antiquity. And so the Nishina Clan were an old family of the area, and are well attested in local events and battles during the Late Heian Period. Their vassals, the Yaguchi, are thought to have manned the castle at some point. The Yaguchi Clan are mentioned being in this area by the Sangūhotakasha Gozōgū Sadame Nikki (三宮穂高社御造宮定日記), compiled in 1501, and the Shinputōki (信府統記), written in 1724, and so it is thought that Nishiyamajō was most likely in their possession. However, historical information about Nishiyamajō itself is scant.
The ruins of Nishiyama Castle consist of a series of baileys along the mountain ridge perforated by trenches created by digging into the ridge. The trail at the foot of the castle mount winds up first to the sannokuruwa (third bailey), and then carries on to the ninokuruwa (second bailey) and ichinokuruwa (first bailey). After that there is a trail which goes down the other side of the mountain and crosses Milk River. The double karabori (dry moats) immediately after the second bailey (toward the first bailey) were my favourite feature of the castle. There is a shrine located in the first bailey. Each bailey and some trenches are marked – others aren’t. The ninokuruwa and sannokuruwa are next to each other but the ichinokuruwa is located discontiguous to the east. The castle combined with the scenery, including snow-dusted mountain peaks and milky flowing rivers, makes for a pleasant hike.
|English Name||Azumi Nishiyama Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||horikiri, ichinokuruwa, ninokuruwa, sannokuruwa|
|Access||Azumi-Kutsukake Station on the Oita Line; 20 minute walk to trail head|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free|
|Time Required||two hours|
|Location||Ōmachi, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 26' 43.87" N, 137° 49' 50.63" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2019|