Mikkaichiba Castle

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Mikkaichibajō was originally built as a fortified redoubt above the manor hall of the Sawando Clan who also built Sawandojō. The founder may have been Sawando Gorō. The Sawando Clan were a branch clan of the Nishina Clan. The Sawando in turn endured the domination of the Nishina, Takeda, Kiso, Uesugi and Ogasawara clans. From around 1550 the lord is thought to have been Sawando Morikata, a vassal of Takeda Shingen. In 1561 Takeda Shingen executed Nishina Morimasa after suspecting him of plotting to side with Uesugi Kenshin, and Nishina Morinobu, who was in fact Takeda's own son, took over the Nishina and Sawando clans. Mikkaichibajō is thought to have been upgraded at this time.

In 1567 the lord of the castle is thought to have been Sawando Morinori. The castle as we see it today with its concentric layout and streaming drop chutes is thought to have been developed first by the Takeda (thus the similarity to Kai-Hakusanjō) in the late Sengoku period, and then perhaps further maintained under the aegis of Ogasawara Sadayoshi from 1582. Mikkaichibajō is thought to have been abadoned when Toyotomi Hideyoshi had Ogasawara Hidemasa relocated to Koga Domain in Shimōsa Province in 1590 since the Sawando Clan followed their Ogasawara overlords there.

Visit Notes

Mikkaichibajō is a hilltop earthworks yamajiro (mountaintop castle) with a concentric layout, located in the Kamishiro township of Hakuba Municipality in historical Azumi County. The two integral baileys, the first and second, separated from each other by a large dry moat, are surrounded by layers of obikuruwa (belt baileys) and circular karabori (dry moats). These ledges are protected with dorui (earthen ramparts). There are gaps in the parapets, and these openings, like large crenels, are in fact tatebori (climbing moats), to prevent lateral enemy movement beneath the ramparts. Mikkaichibajō's layout reminded me strongly of Hakusanjō in Kai. This type of castle design is rare in Shinano and indicates a later construction date toward the end of the medieval era.

  • Karabori (dry moat)
  • Horikiri
  • Climbing Trench / Tatebori
  • Main bailey
  • Koshikuruwa (sub-bailey)

Castle Profile
English Name Mikkaichiba Castle
Japanese Name 三日市場城
Alternate Names Ômiyajō
Founder Sawando Gorō; Takeda Clan
Year Founded Medieval Era; Late Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Kuruwa, Obikuruwa, Dorui, Karabori, Horikiri, Tatebori, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Minami-Kamishiro Station on the Ôito Line; 25 minute walk to Mikkaichiba-shinmeisha
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 50 minutes
Location Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 38' 35.63" N, 137° 51' 44.96" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Shiro to Kosenjō

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