Kazurayama Castle

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History

It's not clear when the castle was first founded on this site, but it was the Kazurayama family center and home from some time in the later Muromachi Period. Since the Kazurayama lands border the Imagawa, Takeda, and Hojo, they were continuously in a difficult position to maintain friendly relations with all the clans. In 1568, the Kazurayama took clear sides with the Takeda who were pushing into the Suruga region. The Hojo and Imagawa sided together and temporarily took control of Kazurayama Castle. The castle was eventually taken back, and Takeda forced Kazurayama Ujimoto to adopt his 6th son. Ujimoto was accused of treason and inciting rebellion in 1573 and executed. With Ujimoto's death, the Takeda took control of the castle. It was abandoned in 1582 after the Takeda clan perished.


Visit Notes

This little castle was much better than I expected. The grounds are carefully maintained by a local group of volunteers and it's very well signposted. It's a place that wouldn't normally be on many people's radar but if you are nearby or a big castle fan, it is worth a trip. I visited in June but I noticed that the grounds were full of maple trees so I imagine the fall colors will be very nice. In the Honmaru there is a sign "The best view of Mt. Fuji in Japan". It was cloudy the day I was there, but I don't doubt it would be a great view. I would recommend to visit in the fall for red leaves and a nice Mt Fuji. Also be sure to stop by the Kazurayama Yakata (Kazurayama family fortified manor residence). Follow the trail in front of the Kazurayama family grave site to reach the castle. This temple may have been an extension of the castle or additional living quarters at the castle too. The graves were moved here in the late 1800's from elsewhere and the doors with the Takeda family crest are also a latter addition paying homage to the family's connection to the Takeda and the last ruler of the castle.


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Gallery
  • West Moat


Castle Profile
English Name Kazurayama Castle
Japanese Name 葛山城
Alternate Names Katsurayama Castle
Founder Kazurayama Clan
Year Founded Muromachi Period (1336-1573)
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Iwanami Sta (Gotenba Line), 45 min walk
Visitor Information Trails open any time, follow the path through the cemetery to the left of the temple.
Time Required 45 mins
Website http://www.city.susono.shizuoka.jp/soshiki/4/5/11/3/15749.html
Location Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 12' 21.89" N, 138° 53' 36.38" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2014
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2014
Admin Visits June 20, 2014
Friends of JCastle
Kojodan
Shirobito
Jokaku Horoki


2.50
(2 votes)
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ARTShogun

15 months ago
Score 0++

Kazurayamajō is a good beginner level yamajiro (mountaintop castle). It’s not so high up, being accessed via a stairway leading from the necropolis of Sennenji, and it is very well maintained with signposted ruins which are easy to appreciate. The ruins are chiefly earthworks, and features include kuruwa (baileys), obikuruwa (ringing baileys), horikiri (trenches), tatebori (climbing moats) and dorui (earthen ramparts).

Kazurayamajō is essentially a large single bailey complex, though a secondary bailey can be said to sit beneath the upper main bailey. Both the upper and lower central baileys are surrounded by a large ring bailey; the whole hill was carved into defences. Down its slopes on both sides are tatebori. On each side of the hill a system of double horikiri divide the ridge. I’m not sure if the ridge to the west was used as a bailey or not. Despite being compact, Kazurayamajō feels expensive due to its tiered layers of defence. The main baileys are further protected by dorui.

Kazurayamajō is not to be confused with Katsurayamajō in Nagano; the reading is different but they use the same kanji. To clarify, this one is also called Suruga-Kazurayamjō after one of the historical provinces which makes up modern-day Shizuoka Prefecture. By the way, although it was too far for me to visit on the day I went to this site, there is also an interesting satellite fortification of Kazurayamajō called Kazurayama-Kakurejō, meaning ‘Hidden Castle of Kazurayama’. It is located far up along the ridge between the plain (Susono) and Ashitakayama, the smaller mountain near Mount Fuji. It was probably used as a secret redoubt of Kazurayamajō.