Isobe Castle

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Some local legends say a castle existed here as early as the Kamakura Period, but there has never been an excavation to determine if a fortification may have existed here during that time period or not. The castle ruins you see today are obviously from the mid 1500's. It was most likely built by Takeda Shingen in his battles with the Annaka at nearby Matsuida Castle (6 km away) or Annaka Castle (2.5 km away). It may have also been built as a satellite fortification by the Hojo, but the Takeda theory seems to make the most sense.

Visit Notes

The castle is remarkably well preserved. Given the location on a fairly small mountain I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been developed over for some nice housing with a view or other public facility. The main approach to the honmaru is well maintained with signs pointing out the main features, which are mostly small baileys and trenches. What's really interesting about this site is if you try to walk those trenches all around the castle. You can see their size and the layout of the castle much better that way.

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  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • Sannomaru Trench
  • Trench
  • Sannomaru trench
  • Sannomaru Bailey
  • Trench
  • Trench
  • View of the Umadashi and 2 trenches from the Ninomaru bailey
  • Koshiguruwa, a side bailey
  • Koshiguruwa, a side bailey
  • Koshiguruwa, a side bailey
  • Ninomaru entrance
  • Watchtower foundation that overlooks the umadashi and Ninomaru entrance
  • Koshiguruwa, side bailey
  • Ninomaru bailey
  • Obikuruwa, a thin "ribbon bailey" around a main bailey
  • Trench
  • Trench
  • Trench
  • Trench
  • Trench
  • Trench
  • Map
  • The castle mountain

Castle Profile
English Name Isobe Castle
Japanese Name 磯部城
Founder Takeda Shingen (?)
Year Founded mid 1500's
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Isobe Sta (Shin'etsu line), 15 min walk
Visitor Information Park, open any time
Time Required 45 mins
Location Annaka, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 17' 52.40" N, 138° 51' 39.78" E
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Added to Jcastle 2018
Admin Year Visited 2018
Admin Visits March 11, 2018

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13 months ago
Score 0++

09/05/2023. After visiting Annaka, I took the train to the next station on this line, Isobe. Exiting from the station, one has to turn immediately to the right and follow the path, which becomes a street, until getting at a T-crossroad. Then look to the right and you will see a forested hill. This is Isobe castle.

To get to the castle follow the main road, until you see a sign of the entrance to the castle. The castle was somewhat overgrown, but you could still figure out some features, like karabori(dry moat)and dorui(earthen ramparts). There were signs indicating the kuruwa's(bailey) name.