Iwadono Castle

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Iwadono7.jpg

History

The origins of Iwadono Castle are mostly unknown. There is much debate whether it was a Takeda castle or Oyamada castle, but the Oyamada theory seems to fit best. Regardless, since the Oyamada were vassals of the Takeda, Iwadono Castle played a critical role in defending the entrance to Takeda's Kai domain. It guarded the roads in the valley and served as an important smoke signaling station.

In 1582, Takeda Katsuyori, escaping from Nobunaga's forces, sought refuge at this castle but was denied entry by Oyamada, essentially making Katsuyori's flight hopeless. Oyamada was later executed by the Oda, ostensibly for betraying his lord and being un-samurai-like. The castle was essentially abandoned at this time, but may have been maintained in the early Edo Period as part of the escape route to Kofu if the Tokugawa ever needed to flee Edo.

Visit Notes

Mt. Iwadono has suffered a lot of damage from typhoons, heavy rains, and rock slides the past few years. I had been waiting for a good cold winter day to visit for a couple years but the main trails had been closed for some time. I finally got my chance in January 2019 for my first castle visit of the new year. The castle remains are very interesting and unique in how they use natural boulders and also cut into the cliff face to create gates and defenses. There are also stunning views of Mt. Fuji along the way and from the top of the mountain. Enjoying such a great view every day, the Oyamada may have had an over-inflated ego or sense of their own power.

As of May 2020, all accessible routes to the top of the mountain are closed again. Due to a rock slide, the trails have been closed since August 2019 again. There are other long and difficult mountaineering trails from other directions that will take you to the top but they are only recommended for at least intermediate level mountain climbers (not just intermediate level hikers) including areas with chains and ladders to scale the boulders. If you are interested in visiting, check the website or contact the Otsuki Tourism Association for the current conditions before planning your trip.

The Fureai-no-yakata (yagura looking building) near the base of the mountain is open every day except Mondays. It has a nice view of Mt. Fuji and displays photos from local photographers. They also have maps of the castle and information about the hiking trails, but the trails from here to the top of the mountain and castle ruins are currently closed.

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Castle Profile
English Name Iwadono Castle
Japanese Name 岩殿城
Alternate Names Iwadonoyama-jo
Founder Oyamada Nobuari
Year Founded 1530
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Otsuki Sta (JR Chuo Line, Fujikyuko); 15 min walk to the trail head, 45 more mins to the top
Visitor Information mountain, open 24/7
Time Required 150 mins
Website https://otsuki-kanko.info/category/content-page/view/36
Location Otsuki, Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 37' 17.72" N, 138° 56' 59.64" E
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Admin
Year Visited 2019
Contributor Eric
Visits January 14, 2019
Added to Jcastle 2011


1.00
(2 votes)
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Anonymous user #1

11 months ago
Score 1++
Attempted the hike but it looks like the route from the visitor center is closed. Have to take alternate paths from other sides of the mountain.
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EricShogun

11 months ago
Score 0++
Interesting. I was just there in January after the trail was reopened again. I wonder if it was closed from a recent typhoon again? I've got great pics I'll be uploading... soonish.
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KrisGunshi

109 months ago
Score 0++
There is very little by the way of ruins even but if you are interested in hiking, or in the history of the Takeda clan, then this site is an easy day trip from Tokyo. There are lots of different hiking trails. The title picture is of the information centre at the base of the mountain - the staff were helpful and had good maps in Japanese and English. Their main theme when I went there was that both Iwadonoyama and Tokyo Sky Tree are the same height. I don`t know about Tokyo but the view from the Takeda Sky Tree is free and you have more chance of seeing Mt Fuji.