Masugata Castle (Suwa)

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SuwaMasugatajou (6).JPG


Masugatajō was paired with nearby Haranojō, and a kilometer long trench ran between the two forts to section off the plateau; though now most of it has been filled in, there is a small creek near to Masugatajō which was likely its terminus. The fort was situated on a peninsula formed from a river terrace. A trench was dug from one side of this 'tongue-shaped' plateau to the other to form a bailey, and at the entrance to the fort was constructed an umadashi (barbican). The long trench, called 'toride no sawa', which ran from Haranojō, terminated on the opposite side of one of the creeks which hemmed in Masugatajō.

It is specualted that in addition to the semi-circular umadashi at the front of the fort's entrance, there was also a square-shaped barbican on the other side, on the inside of the fort, but this is only due to the fort's name, 'masugata' referring to a box-shaped gate complex, and this theory has not been confirmed. The forward umadashi, however, existed up until the 1920s or 1930s, and there are apparently even old photographs of it.

For more information see Harano Castle (Suwa).

Visit Notes

Masugatajō is a castle ruin in the Kitayama area of Chino Municipality, part of what was the historical county of Suwa. It is nearby to another site, Haranojō (原の城), and together the two sites are sometimes referred to as Yukawajō (湯川城) after the local settlement, Yukawa functioning as the downtown of Kitayama. The site of Masugatajō is now fields, and most ruins have been buried or destroyed. There is a small explanatory board which shows the old layout of the fort. Despite the reports of earthworks, I struggled to find much of note, and it seems that alterations to the site have been made in recent years, further obscurring the remains of medieval earthworks.

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  • Layout of castle, now destroyed

Castle Profile
English Name Masugata Castle (Suwa)
Japanese Name 諏訪枡形城
Alternate Names 湯川城
Founder Takeda Shingen
Year Founded 1540s
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Exit via the Chūō-Hara PA along Route E20 if possible, or via Suwa IC or Minami-Suwa IC if driving; nearest station is Chino Station on the Chūō Main Line
Visitor Information 24/7 free; fields
Time Required 20 minutes
Location Chino, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 2' 16.48" N, 138° 13' 15.24" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Umoreta Kojō

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