Furujouyama Castle (Hanishina)

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According to tradition, Furujōyamajō was originally built by the local Kawada Clan (see Shinano-Kawada-yakata) in the late 15th century or early 16th century. However, the ruins we see today likely date to the mid' 16th century and were built by forces under Takeda Shingen as a satellite fortification of Kaiźujō (see Zenkaiźujō).

Visit Notes

Furujōyamajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin on a ridge along the border between the townships of Matsushiro (via Ômuro village) and Wakaho (via Kawada village). I had some difficulty finding the trail up to this site. I had wanted to go via the Ômuro tumuli group so as to see some kofun (ancient burial mounds) along the way, but after seeing the kofun complex I had to backtrack to the northern tip of the ridge where there is a signpost and explanatory panel for the castle at the start of the trail. On the hike up several kofun can be encountered.

The ruins of Furujōyamajō ('Old Castle Mount Castle') feature dorui (earthen ramparts), kuruwa (baileys), horikiri (trenches) and various earthworks. The layout of the castle is of a vague 'V'-shape. The western side is the ridge which I ascended from. Before coming to the castle proper there is a single detached bailey with a trench and embankment on the descending side of the ridge. A series of narrow baileys divided by trenches can be seen once at the castle proper ascending to the main bailey area. The main bailey is a steep climb, but there are rope sections to assist climbers.

The main bailey of Furujōyamajō has dorui heaped up to the rear, beneath which is a sub-bailey and then a series of four horikiri one after the other (the middle trenches are shallowest) which protect the rear of the fort. It's actually quite unusual to find a terrace between the bailey dorui and horikiri like that - at least in Shinano.

The east side of the aforementioned 'V' is bulkier and made up of a series of terraced baileys. On the mountainside are several tatebori (climbing trenches) beneath these terraces. However, I could only make it to the topmost of these terraces, as this part of the ruins is terribly overgrown, creating an impenetrable tangle of plant life.

  • Layout of castle

Castle Profile
English Name Furujouyama Castle (Hanishina)
Japanese Name 埴科古城山城
Alternate Names Kawadafurujō (川田古城)
Founder Kawada Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Horikiri, Kuruwa, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nagano Station; rental cycle; hike 25+ mins
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Nagano, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 35' 47.72" N, 138° 13' 53.40" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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