Aida Yakata

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Aida-yakata, also called Tonomura-yakata, was the fortified manor hall of the Aida Clan, built in the Kamakura period. The Aida Clan, founded by Aida Kojirō, were descended from the Unno Clan who were in turn descended from the Shigeno Clan. Aida territory, centred around the Aida Basin, was a critical juncture in transportation routes between Shinano's large valleys, and because of this strategic importance the Uesugi Clan wanted to use it as a 'cut-off point' to protect their territory in northern Shinano in the Sengoku period. However, in 1553, Takeda Shingen sacked the territory and forced the Aida to surrender; this prompted Uesugi Kenshin to attack Takeda allies based at Aoyagijō, and the whole region became quickly engulfed in conflict between the two rivals, many minor powers like the Aida being caught in the middle. The Aida became vassals of the Takeda Clan after their surrender, suffering reprisal attacks from the Uesugi, and they would ultimately be vanquished by the resurgent Ogasawara Clan after the fall of the Takeda.

Visit Notes

Aida-yakata was the fortified residence of the Aida Clan. The site is now fields and no obvious ruins remain of the resdience. There is a signboard explaining about the site and showing pictures of excavations which unearthed stone walls and evidence of residential buildings. The site hosted an elementary school in modern times but this too is now gone, leaving only the gymnasium which is now used as a gateball court. The site is shown on Google Maps as 'Tonomura Iseki (殿村遺跡)'. In the small valley beneath the site is Aida-juku, an inn town developed in the Edo period (likely formerly the yakata's jōkamura (a settlement attached to a castle)), and some old shops and residences remain here.

I visited Aida-yakata ahead of my planned large scale assault on the castle ruins of the Aida Clan in the mountains above. This is planned for the autumn, and so I figured I'd save time by exploring the sites in the Aida Basin now in summer. I cycled from Matsumoto in a round trip of about 50km. In the Aida area, formerly Shiga Village Municipality, I also visited Toride-toride, Iwabuchijō, and got as close as possible to Bizenhara-yakata, before re-visiting some minor sites in the basin's northwestern arm which I had only seen in the dark before, and exiting the basin toward Akashina, returning to Matsumoto via the area of the River Sai in Aźumino (though on the old Chikuma side), thereby completing a large circuit.

At Aida-yakata I actually made an amazing discovery, albeit nothing to do with castles -- I found a giant mushroom! It was slightly smaller than a football with a dimpled dome, and the cap was so bulbous I couldn't see the stem, though the fruity body wobbled on it sure enough. It was white and, though I am not an aficionado, of an edible variety I believe. There was what looked like a triangular cutting made from the top of the cap, but there was also here four grooves which looked like some animal had pawed at it. Since this was the largest mushroom I had ever discovered, I photographed it next to a bottle of tea.


Castle Profile
English Name Aida Yakata
Japanese Name 会田館
Alternate Names Tonomura-yakata
Founder Aida Clan
Year Founded Kamakura Period
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Ishizumi (buried)
Visitor Information
Access Nearest station is Akashina Station on the Shinonoi Line; 10 minute drive
Visitor Information 24/7 free; fields
Time Required 20 minutes
Location Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 21' 12.06" N, 137° 59' 34.87" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Shiro Meguri

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