Yashima Castle (Chiisagata)
It seems that Yashimajō was originally called Kitabayashijō after the Kitabayashi Clan which built and inhabited it. The Yashima Clan, a branch clan of the powerful Suwa tribe, however, came up from Suwa and conquered the area, expelling the Kitabayashi in 1335. The Yashima then built a residence beneath the castle, and probably re-worked the castle itself. The Yashima are attested as still present in the area by the Ôto Monogatari, a document written in 1400. The Yashima were likely subjugated by the Murakami in the Sengoku period and then later expelled along with them by the Takeda Clan.
Yashimajō is easy to get to as it’s on a road just above the plain in the sort satoyama area which separates man and mountain. Surprisingly there’s some well preserved castle features here. There are two baileys situated on a promontory of rock earth overlooking the plain. A short terrace intercedes between the two baileys. What impressed me was the large earthworks at the rear of the site. The tongue of earth is quite wide but a karabori (dry moat) spans its width. Dorui (earthen ramparts) are piled above the karabori, and remain tall and imposing today. On the other side of a dobashi (earthen bridge) the karabori turns into a falling moat as it careens over the cliff side.
|English Name||Chiisagata Yashima Castle|
|Year Founded||Before 1335|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Dobashi, Dorui, Karabori, Tatebori, Kuruwa|
|Access||Ueda Station on the Shinano Railway; 42 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7; Free; Fields|
|Time Required||20 minutes|
|Location||Ueda, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 25' 5.59" N, 138° 14' 45.02" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|