Haba Castle

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Habajou (11).JPG


Habajō was first built in the early to middle 16th century by Ogasawara Shigejirō, the fourth son of Ogasawara Sadamune who was the lord of Matsuojō in Lower Ina; it was an Ogasawara Clan stronghold in an area important due to the intersection of trade routes between several valleys. When Takeda Shingen first invaded Ina around 1544, Habajō withstood his attacks, but surrendered to him in a subsequent invasion around 1558. Takeda Shingen put Shiba Kawachinokami, one of the 'Thirteen Knights of the Takeda', in charge of the castle thereafter. Habajō was destroyed in 1582 during Oda Nobunaga's conquest of Kai and the fall of the Takeda Clan.

The castle as we see it today was built in the Momoyama period (c.1590) as a residence of the Shiba Clan, at which time they would've been vassals of Kyōgoku Takatomo, lord of Iidajō. The Shiba became vassals of Hoshina Masayuki, lord of Takatôjō, in the Edo period. Hoshina Masayuki was relocated by the Shogunate to Yamagata Domain in 1636, at which time the Shiba Clan went with him, abandoning Habajō (Habajō would've likely been affected by the Ichikoku Ichijōrei, an edict by the Tokugawa-bakufu which limited the number of castles per domain, at which time it could've been abandoned, though it seems as though it was simply downgraded in status to a yashiki (residence))*.

  • Sources vary stating when the castle was abandoned, including 1582, the 1590s, 1615, and 1636. Most sources say 1636 in line with Hoshina Masayuki's relocation, including Ranmaru-sensei to whom I usually defer concerning Shinano castles. Most sources conflate the history of Habajō with Habakojō ('Haba Old Castle') which was located in a separate location nearby (and made use of very different terrain). It was then Habakojō which was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga. Habajō may also have been abandoned before it was completed (middle 1590s), and then repurposed as a residence in the Edo period. Like with many castles the history of Habajō seems straight-forward at first until one digs a little deeper...

Related sites: Ina Matsuo Castle, Iida Castle, Takato Castle, Habako Castle

Visit Notes

Habajō is an interesting ruin featuring tall dorui (earth-piled ramparts), deep, wide karabori (dry moats) and kuruwa (baileys). The castle consisted of two principal baileys, the shukuruwa (main bailey) and the ninokuruwa (second bailey). The ninokuruwa was an outer bailey wrapping around the shukuruwa in the west, east and south. To the north the whole castle was bounded by the Tenryū River. Segments of dorui which surrounded the ninokuruwa can still be seen too, now amidst rice paddies. The Japan Rail Iida Line runs through the ninokuruwa. In the northeastern corner of the ninokuruwa is a mound of earth, now containing hokora (mini-shrines), which looks like it could've been a yaguradai (tower platform). The shukuruwa is now the site of a shrine.


Castle Profile
English Name Haba Castle
Japanese Name 羽場城
Founder Ogasawara Shigejirō
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Kuruwa, Karabori, Tatebori
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Haba Station on the Iida Line; 5 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7 free; shrine
Time Required 40 minutes
Location Tatsuno, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 57' 22.82" N, 137° 59' 4.16" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Shingen Travel

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