Terao Castle (Hanishina)

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HanishinaTeraojou (5).JPG


It is thought that Terao Castle was built by the Terao Clan, who were a branch family of the Suwa-Miwa Clan. In the Sengoku Period the Terao were vassals of the Murakami Clan. However, with Takeda Shingen's invasion of the area, the Terao joined him and helped attack their former overlords at Arato Castle. With the Takeda loss at Toishijō in 1550, however, the Murakami were able to ally with the Takashina Clan and press their advantage by attacking Teraojō. It is said that Sanada Yukitaka tried to come to the defence of the castle by crossing the Jizō Pass but couldn't make it in time and so Teraojō fell. What remained of the Terao Clan fled to Echigo Province and became vassals of the Uesugi Clan.

Visit Notes

I had just enough time left after visiting nearby Kanaiyama Castle and Kasumi Castle to visit Teraojō. Situated on a nearby mountain, Kanaiyamajō can be seen from Teraojō. Teraojō is a simple fort with several kuruwa (baileys) carved ascending into the mountain ridge. The shukuruwa (main bailey) is the highest point of the ridge. In several parts horikiri (trenches cut into the ridge) protect the baileys. I found the crumbled remains of stone pilings here and there about the shukuruwa, indicating that the castle's ramparts had once been stone-clad. Only tumbled stone blocks remain today. Soon, no doubt, even these will be gone, scattered and buried in the dirt. It fills me with a sense of urgency when exploring these smaller sites, and a sense of loss. What will be in five years? What would these ruins have been like twenty years ago? Maybe there would've been much more to see. But slowly with time and the movements of the earth the castle's definition has been eroded and has become blurry.


Castle Profile
English Name Terao Castle (Hanishina)
Japanese Name 埴科寺尾城
Founder Terao Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Kuruwa, Hori
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nagano Station; bus to Nagano IC in Matsushiro; 5 minute walk to trail head
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 50 minutes
Location Nagano, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 34' 33.96" N, 138° 12' 24.70" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(2 votes)
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