Trenches

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Trenches / 空堀

This is a subtype of Features

The term karabori Trenches in general covers a wide range of trench like fortifications around castles and may also be called trenches, ditches, empty moats, or dry moats in English. Karabori are dug to prevent attackers from easily entering or moving around a castle. There are also various subtypes depending on the location in the castle and orientation such as horizontal, vertical or across a mountain ridge. There are also subtypes depending on structure like unebori and shouji-bori.Property "Glossary-Definition" (as page type) with input value "dug to prevent attackers from easily entering or moving around a castle. There are also various subtypes depending on the location in the castle and orientation such as horizontal, vertical or across a mountain ridge. There are also subtypes depending on structure like unebori and shouji-bori." contains invalid characters or is incomplete and therefore can cause unexpected results during a query or annotation process. In flatland castles they are often similar in structure to water moats but without the water. Both water moats or dry trenches have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. For example, it can be harder for intruders to hide in a dry moat and there no natural water sounds that might disguise entry. The slick clay sides of many castles in the Kanto region were especially slippery and difficult to climb. I have had a difficult time even in hiking boots getting up only slight slope where there is no grass for traction. On the other hand, water moats, where feasible, can be a good psychological deterrent. Attackers don't know how deep they are or what is underneath. A wet intruder will likely leave a trail and they will need to expend more energy to get across.

When you see photos or visit these locations yourself you may think that these trenches are shallow and would not be much of a deterrent but keep in mind that they have filled with leaves and dirt and have been eroded significantly over the last 400 years. What is now a meter or less deep may have been two or three times that deep at one time.

Some terms related to trenches that you may see include:


Horikiri (堀切)

This is a deep trench cut across a mountain ridge to impede attackers from easily climbing the ridge. You see a lot of these on the path to mountaintop castles and it's usually the first sign that you've entered a castle. Unless there are signs to point them out or you are familiar with seeing horikiri you might not notice them at all. But, if you think about it, such a sudden steep dip in a ridge is very unnatural.

Kuma4.jpg Washio26.jpg


Yokobori (横堀)

A horizontal trench across a slope or mountain. It can also provide an easier route for defenders to cross a slope.

Koshigoe9.jpg Iwabitsu33.jpg


Tatebori (竪堀)

A vertical trench running down a slope. It can be used to impede attackers from easily crossing a slope and can force them into a kill zone.

Iwabitsu34.jpg Haibara16.jpg


Unejotatebori (畝状竪堀)

Several parallel tatebori across one slope on a mountaintop castle. They may be difficult to see if the are on a steep side of the castle that you cannot get to.

Jofukuji26.jpg Kuma23.jpg


Shojibori (障子堀)

A wider trench with square depressions carved out. It forces attackers to either walk the narrow ridges and be easily fired upon or scale up and down the slick clay walls putting them in vulnerable positions and using a lot of physical energy. These are often attributed to the Hojo but the Hideyoshi's Osaka Castle had great shojibori too. Unfortunately you can not longer see them. The only really good shojibori you can see today are at Yamanaka Castle in Shizuoka but many more have been excavated and reburied over the years.

Yamanaka7.jpg Yamanaka8.jpg


Unebori (畝堀)

A trench with ridges across them. This is similar in design to the shojibori but instead of a "waffle" like design it is only a single row of dugout depressions.

Kawamura3.jpg Kawamura9.jpg


Empty Moats (空堀)

These are the moats you are more likely to see at flatland castles. They are similar in size and shape to water moats but without the water.

Nagoya11.jpg Sakura2.jpg Osaka22.jpg

Castles with Trenches
  1. Aizu Odayama Castle
  2. Akagi Kita Castle
  3. Akagi Minami Castle
  4. Akatsuka Castle
  5. Akechi Osayama Castle
  6. Akizuki Castle
  7. Akutagawasan Castle
  8. Ansho Castle
  9. Aoyagi Castle
  10. Aoyama Castle
  11. Aragaito Fort
  12. Arashi Castle
  13. Arikoyama Castle
  14. Aruga Castle
  15. Asaba Castle
  16. Asahiyama Castle
  17. Ashigara Castle
  18. Asonuma Castle
  19. Asuke Castle
  20. Azuchi Castle
  21. Azumi Iwahara Castle
  22. Azumi Kameyama Castle
  23. Azumi Kitsune Castle
  24. Azumi Mondo Castle
  25. Azumi Nagao Castle
  26. Azumi Nishimaki Castle
  27. Azumi Nishiyama Castle
  28. Azumi Ogiwara Castle
  29. Azumi Ogura Castle
  30. Azumi Oshino Castle
  31. Azumi Shibutami Castle
  32. Azumi Takisawa Castle
  33. Azumi Tanoiri Castle
  34. Azumi Taya Castle
  35. Baba Yashiki
  36. Bingo Kouyama Castle
  37. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
  38. Bitchu Takamatsu Castle
  39. Chausudate
  40. Chigasaki Castle
  41. Chihaya Castle
  42. Chikuma Asahi Castle
  43. Chikuma Awaji Castle
  44. Chikuma Koya Castle
  45. Chikuma Kushiki Castle
  46. Chikuma Motoyama Castle
  47. Chikuma Osaka Castle
  48. Chikuma Takasu Castle
  49. Chikuma Takayama Castle
  50. Chikuma Takeda Castle
  51. Chikuma Tazawa Castle
  52. Chikuma Ueda Castle
  53. Chikuma Uenoyama Castle
  54. Chikuzen Sakata Castle
  55. Choujayama Castle
  56. Choujayashiki Yakata
  57. Dainenji Yakata
  58. Echizen Ohno Castle
  59. Egawa Fort
  60. Ema Yakata
  61. Fujihashi Castle (Tokyo)
  62. Fujita Castle
  63. Fukakusa Yakata
  64. Fukazawa Castle
  65. Fukuyo Castle
  66. Funaoka Castle
  67. Funaokayama Castle
  68. Funayama Castle
  69. Furuwatari Castle
  70. Futamata Castle
  71. Futoge Castle
  72. Futoh'yama Castle
  73. Ganjaku Castle
  74. Gassan Toda Castle
  75. Gifu Castle
  76. Gion Castle
  77. Gobara Castle
  78. Gokan Castle
  79. Gouda Fort
  80. Haba Castle
  81. Habauehori Yashiki
  82. Hachigata Castle
  83. Hachikenchōja Castle
  84. Hachioji Castle
  85. Hagi Castle
  86. Hagikura Fort
  87. Haibara Castle
  88. Hakusan Castle
  89. Hamada Castle
  90. Hanamaki Castle
  91. Hanawa Castle
  92. Hanazono Castle
  93. Hanazono Mitake Castle
  94. Hanishina Terao Castle
  95. Haranomoto Castle
  96. Harima Hakusan Castle
  97. Hasedo Castle
  98. Hatakenaka Yakata
  99. Hatayama Castle
  100. Hatsuzawa Castle
  101. Hayaotoshi Castle
  102. Hayashikojo Castle
  103. Hayashiohjo Castle
  104. Hekirichi Jinya
  105. Hida Kojima Castle
  106. Hida Takayama Castle
  107. Hikaru Castle
  108. Hikobe Yashiki
  109. Hirai Castle
  110. Hirai Kanayama Castle
  111. Hirase Castle
  112. Hirase Kitano Castle
  113. Hisawa Castle
  114. Hishakuyama Castle
  115. Hitachi Yamagata Castle
  116. Hitachi Yorii Castle
  117. Hitachi Yoshida Castle
  118. Hiyama Castle
  119. Hojo Clan Residence
  120. Horigane Yakata
  121. Horikoshi Castle
  122. Hosogaya Yakata
  123. Houzouji Yakata
  124. Hyakusaiji Castle
  125. Ibuka Castle
  126. Ichinomiya Castle
  127. Igawa Castle
  128. Iida Castle
  129. Iida Fort
  130. Iinawa Castle
  131. Ikenoshiri Yakata
  132. Imai Castle
  133. Imai Fort
  134. Ina Akasu Castle
  135. Ina Inamura Castle
  136. Ina Joumura Castle
  137. Ina Kasuga Castle
  138. Ina Kitano Castle
  139. Ina Kiyomizu Castle
  140. Ina Koide Castle
  141. Ina Kokuro Castle
  142. Ina Konishi Castle
  143. Ina Korin Castle
  144. Ina Kurata Castle
  145. Ina Matsuo Castle
  146. Ina Matsushima Castle
  147. Ina Minowa Castle
  148. Ina Muraoka Castle
  149. Ina Nagayama Castle
  150. Ina Nakagome Castle
  151. Ina Ohkubo Castle
  152. Ina Omotegi Castle
  153. Ina Ou Castle
  154. Ina Ryuugasaki Castle
  155. Ina Shimono Castle
  156. Ina Sokura Castle
  157. Ina Suganuma Castle
  158. Ina Suzuoka Castle
  159. Ina Takada Castle
  160. Ina Tanagi Castle
  161. Ina Yasuoka Castle
  162. Ina Yoshioka Castle
  163. Inamurafuru Castle
  164. Inuinofuru Castle
  165. Inukai Castle
  166. Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle
  167. Ishigami Castle
  168. Isobe Castle
  169. Itazuke Moated Settlement
  170. Itousakaue Fort
  171. Iwabitsu Castle
  172. Iwadono Castle
  173. Iwaki Taira Castle
  174. Iwakiri Castle
  175. Iwamura Castle
  176. Izu Moriyama Castle
  177. Izu Nagahama Castle
  178. Izu Ohdairashin Castle
  179. Izumigashira Castle
  180. Jindaiji Castle
  181. Jofukuji Castle
  182. Joujou Castle
  183. Joumurafuru Castle
  184. Jounoue Fort
  185. Kaesa Castle
  186. Kamaenohaka Yakata
  187. Kamagatake Castle
  188. Kamimakifuru Castle
  189. Kamogatake Castle
  190. Kanaiyama Castle
  191. Kanao Yogaisan Castle
  192. Kanayama Castle
  193. Kanazawa Castle
  194. Kanegasaki Castle (Iwate)
  195. Kannonji Castle
  196. Karakai Castle
  197. Karasaki Castle
  198. Karasawayama Castle
  199. Karasuyama Castle
  200. Kariya Castle
  201. Kasama Castle
  202. Kasane Castle
  203. Kaseyama Castle
  204. Kashiwara Castle
  205. Kasugayama Castle
  206. Kasumi Castle
  207. Katsunuma Castle
  208. Katsunumashi Yakata
  209. Katsuyama Castle (Tsuru)
  210. Kawahara Castle
  211. Kawamura Castle
  212. Kazurayama Castle
  213. Kikkawa Motoharu Yakata
  214. Kirihara Castle
  215. Kiso Fukushima Castle
  216. Kita Kumai Castle
  217. Kitabatakeshi Yakata
  218. Kobinata Oh'yashiki
  219. Kogane Castle
  220. Koike Fort
  221. Koiwatake Castle
  222. Kokokuji Castle
  223. Komaki Castle
  224. Komoro Castle
  225. Konosumiyama Castle
  226. Koori Nishiyama Castle
  227. Koriyama Castle (Hiroshima)
  228. Koshibami Castle
  229. Koshigoe Castle
  230. Kounomine Castle
  231. Kouzuke Hakota Castle
  232. Kouzuke Niiya Castle
  233. Kouzuke Warabi Castle
  234. Koyama Castle
  235. Kozukue Castle
  236. Kubodera Castle
  237. Kubota Castle
  238. Kukuri Castle
  239. Kuma Castle
  240. Kumamoto Castle
  241. Kunohe Castle
  242. Kurita Castle
  243. Kurobane Castle
  244. Kuroi Castle
  245. Kurono Castle
  246. Kururi Castle
  247. Kutsukake Castle
  248. Kuwabara Castle
  249. Kuwagatahara Noroshidai
  250. Maeda Battery
  251. Mamabe Castle
  252. Manago Castle
  253. Mariko Castle
  254. Masugatayama Castle
  255. Masuo Castle
  256. Matsudaira Castle
  257. Matsuida Castle
  258. Matsukura Castle
  259. Matsuo Castle
  260. Matsuyama Castle (Gunma)
  261. Matsuyama Castle (Saitama)
  262. Meiseireijin Fort
  263. Mikawa Terabe Castle
  264. Minagawa Castle
  265. Minami Kumai Castle
  266. Minami Majino Castle
  267. Minami Sakaide Castle
  268. Minamoto no Tsunemoto Yakata
  269. Minebata Castle
  270. Mino Ikeda Castle
  271. Mino Ima Castle
  272. Mino Kaneyama Castle
  273. Minochi Aiki Castle
  274. Minochi Katsurayama Castle
  275. Minochi Masugata Castle
  276. Minokubi Castle
  277. Minowa Castle
  278. Misayama Castle
  279. Mito Castle
  280. Miyahara Castle
  281. Mizuban Castle
  282. Mizuki
  283. Mogusa Castle
  284. Morioka Castle
  285. Moriya Castle
  286. Moriyama Castle
  287. Moroto Castle
  288. Motosakura Castle
  289. Motosu Castle
  290. Mukaihaguroyama Castle
  291. Mumo Castle
  292. Murakami Hime Castle
  293. Murakami Iwasaki Castle
  294. Murakami Kamei Castle
  295. Murakami Katsurao Castle
  296. Murakami Kemurino Castle
  297. Murakami Kokuzousan Castle
  298. Murakami Monomi Castle
  299. Murakami Takatsuya Castle
  300. Murakami Torikoya Castle
  301. Murakami Tsumi Castle
  302. Murakami Wagou Castle
  303. Musashi Masugatayama Castle
  304. Musashi Tenjin'yama Castle
  305. Mutsu Iwasaki Castle
  306. Myougi Castle
  307. Nabekura Castle
  308. Naegi Castle
  309. Nagabayashi Fort
  310. Nagashino Castle
  311. Nagato Aoyama Castle
  312. Nagato Katsuyama Castle
  313. Nagoya Castle
  314. Nagurumi Castle
  315. Najima Castle
  316. Naka Castle
  317. Nakahara Yakata
  318. Nakasai Castle
  319. Nakatou Castle
  320. Namioka Castle
  321. Narisawa Castle
  322. Nasu Kanda Castle
  323. Nata Castle
  324. Negoya Castle
  325. Niitakayama Castle
  326. Nijo Castle (Tochigi)
  327. Nirayama Castle
  328. Nishijou Castle
  329. Nishikata Castle
  330. Nishina Castle
  331. Nitchuu Castle
  332. Nochiseyama Castle
  333. Noguchi Yakata
  334. Numata Castle
  335. Oba Castle
  336. Obata Castle
  337. Obata Jin'ya
  338. Obiki Castle
  339. Oda Castle
  340. Odaka Castle
  341. Odani Castle
  342. Odano Castle
  343. Odawara Castle
  344. Odoi
  345. Odori Castle
  346. Ogawa Castle
  347. Ogimachi Castle
  348. Ogoe Castle
  349. Oguchi Castle
  350. Ogura Castle
  351. Ogurayamagami Castle
  352. Ogyu Castle
  353. Oh'eda Castle
  354. Oh'ide Castle
  355. Oh'idefuru Castle
  356. Oh'ikemurayama Castle
  357. Ohga Castle
  358. Ohguma Castle
  359. Ohhara Castle
  360. Ohkusa Castle
  361. Ohmine Castle
  362. Ohmori Castle
  363. Ohtawara Castle
  364. Oike Fort
  365. Okami Castle
  366. Okkoshi Castle
  367. Oko Castle
  368. Omi Castle
  369. Omifuru Castle
  370. Oniba Castle
  371. Oogo Castle
  372. Oomizo Castle
  373. Ori Castle
  374. Osaka Castle (Ibaraki)
  375. Oumi Aoyama Castle
  376. Oumi Hatada Castle
  377. Oumi Imoto Castle
  378. Oumi Isshiki Castle
  379. Oumi Kamigishimoto Castle
  380. Oumi Kitabodaiji Castle
  381. Oumi Nakato Castle
  382. Oumi Ogura Castle
  383. Oumi Shimozato Castle
  384. Oumi Yamori Castle
  385. Owari Haguro Castle
  386. Owari Moriyama Castle
  387. Owari Ogawa Castle
  388. Owari Ohno Castle
  389. Rikan Castle
  390. Ryuusenji Castle
  391. Saimyouji Castle
  392. Sakasai Castle
  393. Sakata Castle
  394. Sakura Castle
  395. Sakurazakaue Fort
  396. Sanada Isezaki Castle
  397. Sanada Negoya Castle
  398. Sanada Palace
  399. Sanada Seba Castle
  400. Sanada Yazawa Castle
  401. Sanadahonjo Castle
  402. Sano Castle
  403. Saraki Jin'ya
  404. Sarashina Osaka Castle
  405. Sasao Castle
  406. Sasayama Castle
  407. Sashiki Castle
  408. Sasou Castle
  409. Sawayama Castle
  410. Seirin Fort
  411. Seiryuin
  412. Seiryuuji Yakata
  413. Sekinomori Castle
  414. Senpuku Castle
  415. Setagaya Castle
  416. Shakujii Castle
  417. Shibukawa Yorii Castle
  418. Shigiyama Castle
  419. Shimizu Castle
  420. Shimofuri Fort
  421. Shimomakifuru Castle
  422. Shimosaka Yakata
  423. Shimura Castle
  424. Shinagura Castle
  425. Shinano Chausuyama Castle
  426. Shingu Castle
  427. Shinpu Castle
  428. Shioda Castle
  429. Shiozaki Castle
  430. Shiozakishin Castle
  431. Shirasawa Fort
  432. Shishiku Castle
  433. Shiwa Castle
  434. Souma Nakamura Castle
  435. Suemori Castle
  436. Sugaya Yakata
  437. Sugiyama Castle
  438. Suwa Imori Castle
  439. Suwa Kami Castle
  440. Suwa Osaka Castle
  441. Suwa Owa Castle
  442. Suwa Sakura Castle
  443. Suwa Shimo Castle
  444. Suwa Takagi Castle
  445. Suwa Takei Castle
  446. Suwa Tezuka Castle
  447. Suwahara Castle
  448. Tada Kasuke Yashiki
  449. Tagayashi Yakata
  450. Tage Castle
  451. Takagifuru Castle
  452. Takagiuchi Castle
  453. Takaharasuwa Castle
  454. Takahata Castle
  455. Takai Castle
  456. Takai Hakoyama Castle
  457. Takamifuru Castle
  458. Takanashi Yakata
  459. Takane Castle
  460. Takasaka Yakata
  461. Takatenjin Castle
  462. Takato Castle
  463. Takatome Castle
  464. Takatori Castle
  465. Takatsuki Castle (Tokyo)
  466. Takayama Castle (Hiroshima)
  467. Takayashikidate
  468. Takeda Castle
  469. Takei Castle
  470. Taki Castle
  471. Takiyama Castle
  472. Tamaru Castle
  473. Tanagura Castle
  474. Tanba Hachiman'yama Castle
  475. Tanba Kokuryou Castle
  476. Tanba Nomura Castle
  477. Tanba Tonbori Castle
  478. Tateyama Castle (Yamagata)
  479. Tatsuno Castle
  480. Tekozuka Castle
  481. Tenjin'yama Castle
  482. Tenjinyama Castle (Hiroshima)
  483. Tenpaku Castle
  484. Terao Chausuyama Castle
  485. Terao Naka Castle
  486. Teshiro Castle
  487. Toba Yakata
  488. Tobiyama Castle
  489. Todoroki Castle
  490. Toishi Castle
  491. Toishi Iizuna Castle
  492. Tokiwa Castle
  493. Tokoji Castle
  494. Tokura Castle
  495. Tonojima Castle
  496. Tonomi-no-saku
  497. Torigoe Castle
  498. Torinji Castle
  499. Tounohara Castle
  500. Tsukui Castle
... further results
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