Nagao Castle (Azumi)

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Nagaojō was used in the 15th century by the Nishimaki Clan as a border fortication to protect from the Ogasawara Clan in the east. It was the charge of the Nagao Clan, who were a branch of the Horigane Clan. The Nagao had their mansions situated above the cliff. The Ogasawara subsequently took over the territory of Sumiyoshi Manor, which encompassed Nagaojō, pushing the Nishimaki back further south. This meant that the Nagaojō were now in charge of protecting the area against the Nishimaki, and so they relocated their residences to beneath the cliff instead, so as to be behind their defences once again.

Nagaojō consisted of three integral baileys. The main bailey was in a triangular enclosure made by cutting a trench across where the cliff jutted out. Beyond that was the second enclosure in a square shape. The outermost bailey, the third bailey, formed and "L" shape around the second bailey. Each bailey was protected by dry moats and earthen ramparts. Probably the inner moat and embankments were the deepest and highest respectively, as parts of these remain today. The cliff corner was terraced.

Visit Notes

Although referred to as a castle, this site in Azumino Municipality, Nagano Prefecture, is very similar to the toride (fort) sites I investigated before summer along the Azusa River. Unfortunately little of the fortifications remain. The site is situated on a cliffline with a ravine cutting into it, so that the fort was snug on this promontory over the plain, protected on multiiple flanks. These pictures show the depression in the earth and cliff line, as well as things on the site now, which is mostly apple orchards in the outer baileys. The orchards were busy with families picking apples, and there were a lot of people around for such a rural locale. I found the grave site of Motai Chūzaemon further along the cliff from the fort site. It seems he was involved in the Jōkyō Uprising. As we will recall from our visit to the Nakagaya-yakata site, the Jōkyō Uprising was a peasant revolt lead by Tada Kasuke in 1686 against the Matsumoto Domain over burdensome taxation. There was supposed to be a marker for the fort but I couldn't locate it because parts of the site were on private land (which expressly forbade entry), which also meant that I could not identify ruins which apparently remain, such as a stubby segment of trenchwork and embankments.


Castle Profile
English Name Nagao Castle (Azumi)
Japanese Name 安曇長尾城
Founder Nagao Clan
Year Founded 15th century
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Kuruwa, Karabori
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Hitoichiba on the Oito Line; 45 minute walk
Visitor Information Access Restricted
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Azumino, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 14' 52.94" N, 137° 52' 18.88" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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