Sekinomori Castle is built upon the older Shirakawa no Seki site. In the Nara Period three important barrier gates were set up in Ōshū at the edge of Yamato territory in order to protect and provide provision for the expanding dominion of the early Japanese state. At that time Tōhoku, the northeast of Honshū, was peopled by the Emishi, who the Yamato considered barbarians (and indeed whose level of civilisation was vastly below that of the descendents of Wa). The site was in use throughout the 7th and 8th centuries and the archaeological remains of pit-homes were unearthed here in the 1950s and 60s. Sekinomori Castle was later built on the site in the Late Sengoku Period by allies of the Uesugi Clan to watch over nearby transport routes. The earthworks we see today date to this time. The first person to rediscover the site was the Lord of Shirakawa Domain, Matsudaira Sadanobu, who surveyed the area and recognised it as the Barrier Gate of antiquity. He erected a stone marker in 1808 which still stands today.
Earthworks, such as baileys, karabori (dry moats), dobashi (earthen bridges) and dorui (earthen embankments), can be easily identified, and the site is now the location of Shirakawa Shrine. Nearby is a park with traditional architecture. An Edo Period style checkpoint guardhouse has been built here.
|English Name||Sekinomori Castle|
|Alternate Names||Shirakawa no Seki|
|Year Founded||Late Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Shirakawa Station on the Tohoku Main Line; 20 minute drive / by taxi|
|Visitor Information||Free, 24/7|
|Time Required||60 mins|
|Location||Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||37° 2' 49", 140° 13' 46"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2018|