Roughly 100 years later, the Zen found themselves in a pivotal point between the Uesugi, Hojo, and Takeda. In 1572, their former allies the Yokoze (now known as the Yura) joined forces with the Hojo, while the Zen joined with the Uesugi. In the same year, the lord of Zen Castle was killed in a battle with the Shibukawa, vassals of the Hojo. The young heir was taken in by the Uesugi and in 1574, the Uesugi recaptured Zen Castle making it their furthest border castle. It is likely that the Oogo who was castellan at Yamagami Castle likewise managed Zen Castle together due to their very close proximity. The castle was lastly captured by the Takeda in 1580 but then abandoned with the death of Takeda Katsuyori in 1582 and the end of the Takeda family.
Just a short walk from Yamagami Castle, Zen Castle is also a must see if you are nearby. Each bailey is fairly small compared to Yamagami Castle but it has a very Sengoku Period feel with many baileys and trenches. The baileys are also zigzagged creating flanking fire zones everywhere.
|English Name||Zen Castle|
|Year Founded||Mid Muromachi Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Zen Station (Jomo Rail Jomo Line), 10 min walk|
|Visitor Information||Park, open any time|
|Time Required||40 mins|
|Location||Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 25' 17", 139° 13' 24"|
|Visits||May 3, 2016|
|Added to Jcastle||2016|