Tezutsuyama Castle

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Teźutsuyamajō was a branch fortification of Kaneǵasakijō controlled by the Asakura Clan. The medieval fort was built under the orders of Asakura Kagetsune. Terada Unemenosuke was the castellan. The garrison was made up of Hikida, Tsunami, and Kuki clansmen. It is situated at a vital coastal route into the heart of Echizen Province. When Oda Nobunaga, attacking from the southeastern ridge, conquered the castle in 1570 in his Echizen campaign, it was the fall of Teźutsuyamajō first which led to the abandonment of the main castle at Kaneǵasakijō, which was located on lower elevation. Though Oda Nobunaga captured the castle (a young Toyotomi Hideyoshi is credited with helping to bring down Teźutsuyamajō by setting fire to it), the betrayal of the Azai (see Odani Castle) forced him to retreat. He would return in 1573 and overwhelm the Asakura.

For more information see Kanegasaki Castle.

Visit Notes

I went to Teźutsuyamajō not once but twice! The evening after my first visit I did more research on the site and became convinced that there was lots to see that I had missed, as the main part of the site is now maintained as a park. I became focused particularly on a mysterious 'north branch' of the fort, though other ridge spurs supposedly contain remains too. Since it was raining and the trailhead was near to Kebi Shrine where I had wanted to visit, I made a second ascent to double-check in the morning, but found very little to show for a fresh assault. Well, at least I shook off that feeling of non-completion which may sometimes plague a castle explorer.

Teźutsuyamajō is a mountaintop fort site and branch fort of the lower situated Kaneǵasakijō. Ruins are said to include kuruwa (baileys), horikiri (trenches) and even dorui (earthen ramparts). These features, however, are not easy to identify, and the main part of the fort has been developed as parkland, obscuring the original shape of the fort. Many castle bloggers indicate horikiri remains along the northern approach to the fort mount between it and Kaneǵasakijō. Without much priming (I had found a map online but it was of poor quality), I also noticed these earthworks, but I was not confident about them as fortification ruins. The first excavation appeared to me to be an old road. It did not seem medieval, but it's hard to judge. I walked along before backtracking to climb up the ridge atop of this trench for a better look. There was what looked like an old road curving away down the mountain, and an embankment where the road curves (unlike a trench which would fully bisect the ridge) is evident even when viewed from the trail. I have no confidence in this "trench".

Another indicated horikiri is the site of a pass which has been carved through the ridge. There are trails on both sides. It seems to me that the pass was cut in subsequent eras, but it's certainly possible that an extant horikiri was deepened and widened to create the pass. The pass also has some flattened terraces areas on either side which may be suggestive.

Actually, I found a much smaller cutting in the ridge just above the pass area. It looked like a horikiri at a medieval earthworks fort site. No other castle bloggers mention this, and it is small, but to me it looked like an old trench which could be medieval, so I was happy to have found it.

The main bailey area is now parkland and includes and observation platform. The views of the bay are good. Before this modern tower there is a wooded, circular rise. This appears to be a kofun (ancient burial mound). Around and to the north of this area are traces of what may be karabori (dry moats) and once fortified embankments, though these also represent the remains of kofun. I followed this ridge down and found another possible horikiri (this during my second visit). It is along a path to a pylon and there was a rope to aid in climbing the steep embankment on one side of the trench. Since I can't find any decent maps of this site I can't say for sure if it was a trench, but it looked like one, dug deep into the ridge and sloping off on both sides. Unlike those other possible horikiri it didn't seem like it could be anything else either. Discovering new parts of an obscure site is one of the attractions of visiting long forgotten yamajiro.

  • Trench remains
  • Trench remains
  • Possible remains of a smaller trench above the first
  • Kanegasaki Castle Mount as seen from Tezutsuyama peak

Castle Profile
English Name Tezutsuyama Castle
Japanese Name 天筒山城
Founder Asakura Kagetsune; Terada Unemenosuke
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 Tsuruga Station on the Hokuriku Main Line / Obama Line; 20 minute walk to southern trailhead; or climb from Kanegasaki Shrine
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 39' 42.91" N, 136° 4' 54.91" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Kojō Seisuiki
Jōkaku Tanbō
Shiro Meguri

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