Established in 1350, Hishakuyama Castle was the home of the Kiryu family until 1573. Kiryu Suketsuna allied with Uesugi Kenshin for his incursions into Kanto and then allied with Ashikaga Yoshiuji of Furukawa until his death in 1570. In 1573, the Kiryu were attacked and destroyed by Yura Narishige. Narishige made Hishakuyama Castle his retirement castle, though he likely lived at the base of the mountain at what is now Iunji Temple. After Narishige's death in 1578, Kiryu Chikatsuna unsuccessfully tried to take back the castle. After the defeat of the Hojo in 1590, the Yura clan was moved to Ushiku and Hishakuyama Castle was abandoned.
There are several busses in the area that will take you to the Shiroyama bus Stop ("Joyama" on Google Maps) or Kiryu Joshiko Mae, which is the stop I used on the way back, but it's about a 15 min walk towards the town from the Shiroyama bus stop. You can find more information about the local busses on this site. This page also has a bilingual hiking guide including information about Hishakuyama Castle and the Hikobe Yashiki. Hishakuyama is also a famous location for cherry blossoms.
At the Shiroyama Bus Stop you will find a map to the castle ruins and the route to the top of the mountain is well marked. Unfortunately, once you get to the top, there are few signs pointing out the different features of the castle. I'm glad I did some research before I left. The trenches and horikiri along the main trail are impressive and the honmaru also has a section of yokobori too. Along the trail into the honmaru there is a section that is shored up by stones. These were uncovered during recent repairs activities and it is thought that part of the honmaru may have had stonework to prevent erosion. Along the southeast side of the honmaru you'll also see some loose larger stones taht may have once been part of a stone wall too.
The main trail will take you straight to the Honmaru, but the route into the North Bailey (Kita Kuruwa) is not obvious. I had this illustrated map which shows you how the main trail curves around the outside of the second bailey. To get to the North Bailey you need to climb up into the Second Bailey and follow it to the end. Even though it's a bit difficult to find and traverse I think the string of baileys including the North Bailey that come down from the Second Bailey are possibly just as interesting and really make the trek to Hishakuyama Castle worthwhile.
|English Name||Hishakuyama Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Shinkiryu Sta. (Tobu Kiryu Line); 36 min bus to Shiroyama Iriguchi; 20 min walk|
|Visitor Information||Mountain trails, open 24/7|
|Time Required||120 mins from the bus stop|
|Location||Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 26' 42.94" N, 139° 21' 31.10" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||2020|
|Admin Visits||March 22, 2020|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Shirobito - Kiryu-jo|
|Kojodan - Hishakuyama-jo|
|Jokaku Horoki - Kiryu-jo|
|Wikipedia - Hishakuyama-jo|