There are a couple different theories as to when this castle was founded including the 14th C. by the Azuma clan and the 15th C. by the Saito. For awhile it was thought to have been most likely built by the Saito and taken over by Takeda Shingen, but when Takeda defeated the Saito their main castle was actually nearby Iwashita Castle. When Takeda defeated the Saito, some of the Saito clan holed up in nearby Takeyama Castle (Nakanojo township). Iwabitsu Castle was likely built by Takeda at this point in time to threaten Takeyama Castle where the last remnants of the Saito held out for over a year. Sanada Yukitaka was lord of the castle for this battle as well as the attack on Shiroi Castle. Afterwards the Sanada continued to hold the castle for Takeda as an important part of the defenses connecting Numata to Ueda and preventing incursions by Uesugi Kenshin into the Kanto region. The castle was in service until the One Castle per Country edict of 1615 when it was abandoned.
Iwabitsu Castle is a place that I have wanted to go for years, but never got around to it. With the recent attention brought to it by the Taiga Drama Sanadamaru I thought it was finally time to visit. I'm glad I waited a bit because they've trimmed out many trees making it easier to see the ruins today. Some guides will tell you to start from Gunma Haramachi Station, but that is a long, boring uphill walk that will do nothing but tire you out by the time you get there. I would recommend to start from Gobara Station, visit Seiryuin if you have time and walk the "Sanada Road" to Iwabitsu Castle. It is a nice walk through the old town and starts from a higher elevation so that when you walk to Gunma Haramachi on your way home, it is all down hill from Iwabitsu Castle.
|English Name||Iwabitsu Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Gobara Sta. (Agatsuma Line), 40 min walk|
|Visitor Information||Mountain trails, open any time|
|Time Required||75 mins|
|Location||Higashiazuma, Gunma Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 33' 34", 138° 48' 16"|
|Visits||April 29, 2016|
|Added to Jcastle||2016|