According to the Suwa Gofusatsu no Kosho, dating to 1487, Ryūgasakijō was built by Suwa Tsugimune of Takatô. In 1464 another document also mentions the castle as being in vicinity of Miyadokoro-gō, a township closely alligned to the powerful religio-political Suwa Clan. It is transcribed as 「りうか崎城」 Riukasakijō, but this would've been read as Ryūgasakijō. Japanese phonetic script at that time did not have the niceties of such things as smaller kana or even dakuten. Although written in kana, the name is thought to reference a sleeping dragon due to the shape of the castle mount. The mountain was likely chose as a site for a fortification due to its easy-to-defend terrain; it is bordered by two rivers which join up near its base, and beyond a large mountain system looms. Furthermore, it is at the tip of the Ina Valley, granting great views down much of its upper length. Ryūgasakijō's kyokan (residential area) was located in a flat space at the foot of the mountain. This was also the site of a Suwa Shrine.
Ryūgasakijō is the ruins of an earthworks yamajiro (mountaintop castle) on a small mountain near the town of Tatsuno. There are some very nice shapes sculpted into the mountain here and the entire main bailey is surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts). Terracing, trenchwork, and sub-baileys are also clearly identifiable. There is a depression between three pines in an auxiliary bailey which I took for the remains of a well. Trenches run between the baileys and the trench at the rear of the main bailey is particularly deep. I walked beyond here and further found some smaller trenches.
|English Name||Ina Ryuugasaki Castle|
|Year Founded||Medieval Era|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa, Koshikuruwa, Horikiri, Kyokan-ato|
|Access||Tatsuno Station on the Chuo Main Line; 20 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||Free; 24/7; Mountain|
|Time Required||60 minutes|
|Location||Tatsuno, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 59' 23.28" N, 137° 58' 36.88" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|
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