The castle was founded by Mita Tsunahide around 1558. At that time, the Mita's home was at nearby Katsunuma Castle. Mita Tsunahide switched allegiances from the Hojo to Uesugi in 1560 when Uesugi Kenshin made advances into the central Kanto region. Uesugi forces retreated from Kanto in 1561, but the Mita continued to defy the Hojo and moved their home to Karakai Castle. Hojo Ujiteru eventually defeated the Mita and captured the castle in 1563.
This is an easy day trip from Tokyo and very accessible for castle fans around Tokyo. Much of the central (honmaru) bailey was carved out as it was used as a stone quarry in the Edo Period but the edge remains and you can see several koshiguruwa (small side baileys) down the side. Past the Honmaru Bailey you'll run into a sign for the peak of Mt. Karakai. Follow the trail down the back side of this as it continues on to Mt. Raiden to see an impressive horikiri trench marking off the end of the castle. The trails are well maintained and connect to trails for many of the surrounding mountains which could be combined for a good hiking trip. I combined Karakai Castle with a detour to neighboring Masugatayama Castle on the way down. If you have some energy and time remaining I highly recommend a visit to the nearby Katsunuma Castle on the way back to Tokyo too.
|English Name||Karakai Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Futamato Sta (Oume Line), 10 min walk to the trailhead|
|Visitor Information||mountains, open year round|
|Time Required||90 minutes at the castle; 120 mins from the trailhead|
|Coordinates||35° 48' 43", 139° 13' 14"|
|Visits||December 10, 2017|
|Added to Jcastle||2017|