Hikarujō was built by Hikaru Yukimoto, who, along with the Tōhara Clan, had formerly been a member of the Unno Clan. The Hikaru were vassals of the Ogasawara Clan, nominal rulers of Shinano Province. Hikarujō was fortified due to encroachments into the area by Takeda Shingen, but the castle was surrendered to Shingen's forces in 1553 following the fall of nearby Kariyaharajō. Ogasawara Sadayoshi is thought to have also made use of the castle from 1582, following the death of Takeda Katsuyori.
The ruins of Hikarujō are impressive, with a pair of well-defined baileys surrounded by dorui (earth ramparts), defended with deep, wide trenches. Toward the rear of the site there is a road for visitors and it swings past a series of rear trenches. Here a bridge spans a climbing trench. Terracing appears to descend the mount via ridges at two more points too. The site is well maintained as it is part of a popular hiking course, and, after seeing no one on my way up from the Tazawajō side, I saw a score or so people here. They'd all came up from either the car park near the mountain road, or from a long trail which follows a ridge from the plain. That trail is popular in spring because it is lined with sakura. At this elevation there was lots of snow around and the scenery was beautiful. I enjoyed this site a lot. It might be worth visiting if you're in Matsumoto during the spring.
|English Name||Hikaru Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Dorui, Karabori, Horikiri, Kuruwa, Koshiguruwa, Dobashi|
|Access||Hiking Trail via Tazawa Castle (Tazawa Station), or Hiking Trail via "Rising Dragon Sakura Trail"|
|Visitor Information||Free; 24/7; Mountain|
|Time Required||70 minutes|
|Location||Azumino, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 19' 6.64" N, 137° 56' 32.28" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|