Ken Castle (Kozuke)

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Kenjō was built at the start of the Kamakura Period (late 12th century) by the Hiki Clan. This medieval fortification site is known chiefly from archaeological excavation. It was a simple fort surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts) and a moat. There was one entranceway. It is thought that Nagao Kagetoshi occupied the castle in the late 15th century.

Visit Notes

When this little blip popped up on my castle radar what attracted me to it was the name, Kenjō, or "Sword Castle". Maybe this seems like a good name for a castle, but it's a little odd. For a start, single character names of castles are not so common (an exception would be Oshijō (忍城)), and one would assume that it should be read as Tsurugijō, which would sound better (kun'yomi and on'yomi go together more readily if the latter is a suffix). Well, anyway, the site is fields and housing developments next to a railway line. There is nothing to see of the castle except a crude wooden post with the castle's enigmatic name written on it - as well as what looks like a botched attempt at a double swirl pattern. So, it was amusing to stop by here at dusk - as you can see I used flash photography - at the end of the day, but I wouldn't recommend coming here. Now, apparently they've done some archaeological work here. There's some treasure associated with the site, a type of gong which was unearthed here, and which is now kept at a nearby temple and designated as important cultural property. We couldn't see that but it's probably infinitely more interesting than the castle site itself.

  • site marker

Castle Profile
English Name Ken Castle (Kozuke)
Japanese Name 上野剣城
Alternate Names 半田剣城
Founder Hiki Clan; Nagao Kagetoshi
Year Founded Late 12th Century; Late 15th Century
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Visitor Information
Access Yagihara Station on the Jouetsu Line; 10 minute walk
Visitor Information Free; 24/7; Field
Time Required 10 minutes
Location Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 27' 28.84" N, 139° 1' 12.22" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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