Kemi Castle (Chikuma)
Kemijō was part of a network of forts controlled by the Aida Clan that protected the mountain trails (ridges with paths) around Aida territory. It is not known which clan first fortified this peak, with traditions having either the Tokiwa or Kemi clans as originators. According to a reference in the "Diary of Shinano Highway Officials (信濃国道者之御祓くばり日記)", dating to 1581, the Kageyu Clan were in charge of the castle, using it as a checkpoint fort to guard the road; perhaps the Kageyu were vassals of Takeda Katsuyori. But the castle was built before this time, and it is also thought that in its earlier history the castle was controlled by Maruyama Higo and acted as a satellite fortification of Hikijō, which would've alligned it with the Nishina Clan in Aźumi.
If I'm piecing this together properly then the castle's lineage may have gone: Unknown original clan - possibly Tokiwa or Kemi > Nishina-alligned Maruyama Clan > Aida Clan > Takeda-alligned Kageyu Clan. And possibly the Ogasawara Clan after that if the fort was still active.
Kemijō consists of two principal baileys, with the second directly below the first on the south side. On the ridge which climbs towards the castle mount there are a series of peaks which may have been auxiliary baileys of the castle - but it's hard to tell.
|English Name||Chikuma Kemi Castle|
|Founder||Kemi Clan or Tokiwa Clan|
|Year Founded||Medieval Era|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Akashina Station on the Shinonoi Line; 45 minute fun walk along Former Shinonoi Line Nature Trail to trailhead; or forestry road access|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||60 minutes|
|Location||Azumino, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 22' 16.57" N, 137° 57' 35.89" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|