Washio Castle

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Washio6.jpg

History

Said to have been built by the Kurashina clan, the actual date of construction and history are mostly unknown. The Kurashina may have been an offshoot of the Murakami, but little is known of them. When the Murakami fled Takeda Shingen in 1553, it is said that the Kurashina fled to Azumino (near Matsumoto) while the Murakami fled to Echigo (Niigata). The role of Washio Castle is unknown after this point but it was likely used by Takeda Shingen to fortify the entranceway to the large Zenkoji Plain. The Seino clan who originally fled with the Murakami to Echigo returned in 1559 and joined with the Takeda. It is thought they were given control of Washio Castle sometime around 1570. The castle was likely abandoned in 1598 when Uesugi kagekatsu moved to Aizu and the Seino joined them.

Sanada Nobuyuki's second daughter had a residence at the foot of this mountain too. Today there is a small garden and shrine where it once stood. A bit farther up the mountain was also a small temple that destroyed in a rainstorm in 1742. Given the steepness of the slope, I'm not surprised.

Visit Notes

This is a fantastic little castle. The initial climb is rather steep but not so long and suddenly you arrive at the main bailey with a 3m high stone wall. Despite the many castles around Nagano with early period stonework, this is one of the highest walls. The castle extends along the ridge with several well defined baileys and horikiri. I biked from Matsushiro Castle but the best route is probably to go from Yashiro Station. You can also take a bus from Yashiro Station to Matsushiro Castle and watch for a good place to get off somewhat nearer to Washio Castle and walk the rest of the way too but the route and where to get off are not clear.
鷲尾城は見事な小規模な山城です。ちょっと険しい斜面を登ったらすぐに約3メートルの高石垣に出会います。この周辺で石積みを持つ城がたくさんあるもののこんなに高いのは珍しいです。主郭から山尾根に四つの郭と四つの大きい堀切も確認しやすいです。二つは立派な二重堀切になっています。

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Castle Profile
English Name Washio Castle
Japanese Name 鷲尾城
Founder Kurashina clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Yashiro Sta., walk
Visitor Information
Time Required 140 mins
Location Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 32' 11", 138° 9' 43"
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Admin
Year Visited 2016
Visits December 3, 2016
Added to Jcastle 2017


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