According to the "Historical Records of Kataoka Village", Hachikenchōjajō was built by a member of the Hata Clan whose nickname was Hachiken Chōja. I'm not sure if that's a flattering nickname or not. This was way back in the beginning of the 15th century. The castle was later taken over by the Ogasawara Clan and then destroyed by the Takeda Clan.
Hachikenchōjajō... what a name. Following a trail indicated by various castle bloggers, I advanced toward the driveway of a mountain inn. The trail was apparently behind a small temple house next to the inn. As I approached I noticed the innkeep. I asked him about the castle and he directed me to a different, more direct approach. His wife showed me the way. I had eschewed the trail taken by my knowledgeable predecessors but sure enough I scrambled up a ridge and quickly came to the main enclosure of the ruin. I then spent most of my time climbing beyond the shukuruwa (main bailey) to check I hadn't missed anything and found a few more trenches and baileys this way. Eventually I came to a strange area with a bubbling spring. At first I heard the fount gurgling and thought it might be a boar.
Between the shukuruwa and the other ruins is a very narrow ridge. The whole site is quite overgrown and fallen branches and trees are strewn everywhere. The shukuruwa contains an azumaya (gazebo thing). Maybe it was once a viewing platform. But now everything is mouldering. There is a fallen utility pole. The neighbourhood seems to be a mountain retreat, but some hotels are now abandoned. It seems that the castle ruin has also been neglected. In the neighbourhood some people produce honey, which attracts bears. Luckily I had my bell with me. The desolation of the site had me quite on edge.
The lower portions of the castle ruin had some more kuruwa (baileys) and nicely shaped yokobori (lateral trenches).
|English Name||Hachikenchōja Castle|
|Founder||Hachiken Chōja of the Hata Clan|
|Year Founded||Early 1400s|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Hirooka Station on the Chuo Line; walk 90 mins|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 9' 13.64" N, 138° 0' 44.39" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|