ART Summer 2023 Update: Part 1

From Jcastle.info

ART Summer 2023 Update: Part 1

2023/07/23


This is the first of a 3-4 part series of new castles from ART covering castle visits around Yamanashi Prefecture from Aug2022 to March 2023.

If you haven't seen ART's Facebook Japanese Castle Group yet I highly encourage you to do so. There are contributions from a variety of members, discussion and news about castle developments and discoveries.


 

Ainuta Fort / 相垈塁

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Ainuta-rui is a fortified residence site in Fujii Township, Nirasaki Municipality. The ruins of Ainuta-rui consists of a segment of dorui (earthen ramparts) which are thought to have once ensconced a medieval residence, though who built it is unknown. The site is now fields and the embankment, which is quite wide and sloping, hosts an orchard and a bamboo patch.
 
Akiyama Yakata / 秋山館

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Akiyama-yakata, the fortified manor hall of the Akiyama Clan, is now the site of Kumano-jinja in the village of Akiyama. No apparent ruins remain.
 
Amanari Castle / 雨鳴城

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Amanarijō features two baileys with two horikiri (trenches) cutting through the ridge in between them. The northern bailey one reaches first if hiking down from Nakanojō. This is the second bailey and it has a berm of earth protecting it, but otherwise it is quite a small and helpless bailey. The main bailey is better defended and is surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts), except in the south where landslides have eaten into the ruins. One of the horikri is part of a trail so it remains quite deep, probably no deeper than when the fort was first built.
 
Amari Yakata / 甘利館

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Amari-yakata is now the site of Dairinji, the bodaiji (clan temple) of the Amari Clan. There are no ruins that I could see; however, excavations on the site have confirmed the remains of defences such as moats. These are presumably now buried. For the related tsumejiro see Ougidairayama Castle.
 
Amemiya Yashiki / 雨宮屋敷

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Amemiya-yashiki is now the site of Jigenji, a temple. Dorui (earthen ramparts) partially surrounds the temple, particularly to the south and west of the site. In front of the temple is a waterway. The temple itself has beautiful architecture, including a shōrōmon (belfry-gate), hondō (worship hall) and kuri (kitchen), which are listed as important cultural properties. The hondō and kuri have elegant thatched roofing.
 
Amino Shingozaemon Yashiki / 網野新五左衛門屋敷

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An old farmhouse now stands on the site of Amino-Shingozaemon-yashiki, a fortified residence site. There is a water channel running in front of the house, which also has a nice gate, and this is thought to have formerly been a moat. Some bloggers say there is dorui (earthen ramparts) here to the north. I went around the back of the site but couldn’t positively identify any ruins, even though there is indeed a small embankment of earth here in a copse. The yashiki site is along the ‘Takeda Shingen Walking Route’, which takes one through the countryside. On the yashiki site, which is now mostly fields, I also came across goats in a bamboo grove.
 
Amino Yashiki / 網野屋敷

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Amino-yashiki has dorui (earthen rampart) remains, which are now stone-lined retaining walls for an old farmhouse. It took me a while to actually find this supposed dorui. During that search I came across ‘Persimmon Gallery’, a small, local art gallery. I like persimmons – and had seen many appetising specimens that day – so I went in. Many drying persimmons were hanging around the veranda. Dried persimmons are a local specialty (see Kanzou Yashiki). The gallery owner, who provided tea and snacks, says that dried persimmon was an ideal ration food for samurai.
 
Asahiyama Castle (Kai) / 甲斐旭山城

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Asahiyamajō is a mountaintop fort site in the Takane Township of Hokuto Municipality. Ruins of this fort which was never fully completed include dorui (earthen ramparts), kuruwa (baileys), karabori (dry moats), dobashi (earthen bridges), and other earthworks, such as gate ruins and tatebori (climbing moats). The site is interesting and mysterious. It is easy to reach as it is on a walking trail very close to a forestry road, but any map which pinpoints the castle to the main bailey, one of two of the castle’s integral baileys, may lose some people, as the ruins of the castle are most apparent in the second bailey. Also, whilst the walking trail is mostly kept clear, much of the castle site is heavily overgrown with bamboo grass.

The layout of the castle is interesting. The main bailey, which seems not to have been completed, is large and long. A karabori runs around both the main and second bailey, but was not completed in the east. There is a lowered terraced area along much of the east of the main bailey. The northern entrance to the main bailey has some residual earthworks indicating that there was supposed to be a deep trench here with forward parapets to protect a gate. To the south of the main bailey the second bailey expands outward. There is a trench between the first and second bailey and also a stele with the castle’s name on.

The second bailey is made up of a level portion and then a sloped area, now covered in bamboo grass, which was likely never finished but supposed to be a series of stair-like terraces. The ruins are most impressive in and around the second bailey. There are three entry areas and the whole bailey is surrounded by dorui. Beneath the dorui segments are karabori. The dorui continues descending down the slope. There is a gap in the karabori beneath the lowest southern part, so perhaps this part wasn’t dug in time. In the west the trench is present again, though too full of weeds to show well on photographs, and one practically has to feel one’s way through the bamboo grass to discover the lower dobashi. In the west there are two segments of dorui apparent on either side of the karabori. The trench then climbs and eventually becomes a terrace, looping around, of the main bailey, but it seems clear that it was going to become part of a long, ringing karabori.

There’s lots to marvel about at this strange site, a fort incomplete, but one must be prepared to go though a lot of bamboo grass. I thought the number of entrances into the second bailey, an area which was heavily fortified, was excessive. There are two close together. One is in a projecting angled area which functions as a sort of barbican, and so that seems to have been the actual entrance. The other is thought to have been not a gate, but a passageway into the trench accessed from within the bailey. The reason it appears as an entrance now is because the walking trail goes through it!

In the main bailey there were ‘snowbugs’. Yukimushi (woolly apple aphids) are small flies with fluffy white bodies, and their swarming is like falling snow. They tend to stick to one if one goes through a swarm, as when cycling… I’m not a fan.

This is my 1,000th castle profile contribution to jcastle!
 
Atagoyama Noroshidai / 愛宕山烽火台

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This hill overlooking the Kai Basin had a noroshidai (fortified beacon tower) atop of it in the Sengoku period, but the area has now been developed and no ruins remain. The noroshidai area is now the site of the Yamanashi Prefectural Science Museum. Further up the hill is the Kōfu Bussharitō, a reliquary in the form of a continental stupa.
 
Atsushiba Yashiki (Koma) / 巨摩厚芝屋敷

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Ruins of Atsushiba-yashiki are said to include dorui (earthen ramparts) and kuruwa (baileys), but the site today is covered in rice paddies so it can be difficult to distinguish the terracing for fields from embankments which were once fortified. However, the most likely area surrounds the shrine (Yasaka-jinja); the terraces and mounds around the paddies are tall. Fields to the south and west of the shrine stand out as being possible bailey sites.
 
Biwa Castle (Kai) / 甲斐琵琶城

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No ruins remain of Biwajō, situated on a ‘tongue-shaped’ plateau, and the site is now agricultural land, mostly orchards.
 
Bushihara Fort / 武士原塁

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Bushihara-rui is a residential fort site in the Mikkaichiba area of Enzan Township, Kōshū Municipality. It is now the site of a temple, Jōsenji, and a small hamlet (probably called Busshihara). One castle-blogger shows dorui (earthen ramparts) remains here, noting that they’re on private property, but I couldn’t find them. The rustic architecture and rural setting was worth seeing though.
 
Chikuzenbara Fort / 筑前原塁

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Chikuzenbara-toride (alternatively Chikuzenbara-no-rui) features dorui (earthen ramparts) in several places. There is a row of dorui on at least one side of the Kaina Shrine at the edge of the site. Then there is evidence of taller dorui and a moat behind a small plot of housing opposite the shrine, but these structures are very overgrown. I went around the other side of the tallest dorui to a temple called Senshōji (it had the worst priest's house of any I have ever seen - very jarring), and furtively crept into the bamboo grove at the rear of the temple hall. There was more dorui here enclosing very small areas. These might be the remains of warehouses, or even of a gate structure. The bamboo was too dense and strewn about to allow for a proper exploration, and I was being assailed by mosquitoes. Some bloggers report the remains of a mizubori (water moat); I didn't find it but I wonder if the mozzies were coming from there.
 
Chousenji Fort / 長泉寺塁

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Chōsenji-rui was a fort which is now the site of a temple, Chōsenji, for which it is named, in Sutama Township, Hokuto Municipality. It sits somewhat elevated yet in the shadow the Wakamiko Castle Complex built by the Hōjō in 1582, and no ruins remain. It seems some remains may have existed up until the site's redevelopment in 2007. No castle-bloggers have covered this site online as far as I can find, and so I may be the first. My information comes from a report put out by Hokuto Municipality (which also includes nice maps of the Wakamiko Castle complex (I could've done with them when I visited!)). Profile by ART, who takes sole responsibility for any errors : )
 
Doushou Hori / 道生堀

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Dōshō-hori is a fortification site in Tsuru. 'Hori' means 'moat'. No ruins remain and the site is now a hospital.
 
Eimeiin Fort / 永明院塁

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Eimeiin-rui is now the site of Eimeiin, the temple for which it is named. No ruins remain.
 
Fujimaki Yashiki / 藤巻屋敷

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No ruins remain of Fujimaki-yashiki, a medieval residence site, but it is associated with the site of Mamyōda Fort to the south. There are some embankments along the roadside up from the fort site which I photographed. It seems in spring they are covered in 'sakura grass'.
 
Furumiya Castle (Kai) / 甲斐古宮城

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Furumiyajō is a fortification site in the Tsugane area of Sudama Township in Hokuto Municipality, Yamanashi Prefecture. The most prominent feature of the ruins of this earthworks fort site is the long segment of karabori (dry moat) to the northwest of Tsugane’s Suwa Shrine. It appears that this was a double moat structure, though now a lane runs through the outer moat segment, obscuring it. The inner moat and dorui (earthen ramparts) are fairly well preserved, though a bit overgrown. The site of Furumiyajō is now that of a preserved school. The old school houses are open to the public, and there is a souvenir shop-bakery-restaurant which serves school meals! I bought a packet of ‘school lunch curry’ and dried persimmons.
 
Goryoudaira Fort / 御領平塁

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Goryōdaira-rui, a fortification site, is now fields and a small village. Although I couldn't get too close, there is dorui (earthen ramparts) along the north of the site. This stretch of earthen fortification remains runs for about 30m, is 2m wide, and 1.2m tall. It bends to the west at the end, indicating a corner segment. The small bend is important as it gives us an idea as to the orientation of the site. No tradition remains as to who built the fort, and its remains were discovered by field researchers by chance when villagers cleared away some trees and shrubbery. I found pictures of the dorui in an archaeological report put out by Hokuto Municipality. This site has no recorded history.
 
Hanasaki Castle (Tsuru) / 都留花咲城

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Hanasakijō is a very minor yamajiro (mountaintop castle) site but some ruins remain. The shrine area is thought to have been a castle bailey. It is about 40m long. To the rear there is what looks like the remains of a trench and dorui (earthen ramparts). The trench's middle section may have been filled in for rear access to the shrine for vehicles, but to either side there are chutes which appear to be tatebori (climbing trenches). There is dorui just behind the shrine building. The dorui is less certain toward the rear of the site where the road runs because probably dirt was heaped up and cut away to construct the roads below, though it's tempting to imagine some kind of gate complex here. Some castle explorers speculate that more ruins may be located further up the ridge beyond the large road which was cut for the neighbouring golf course.
 
Hayakawa Yashiki (Kai) / 甲斐早川屋敷

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No remains; the site of Hayakawa-yashiki is now a residential plot with ugly houses. Fortunately the area still has many fine old homes in the vernacular architecture. I took pictures of these, as well as a single photograph of a sad looking green space in the middle of the modern housing plot.
 
Hinode Castle / 日ノ出城

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From my reading online it seemed most castle bloggers were saying no or scant few ruins remained of Hinodejō, and even the municipal website says that, but the guy at Jōkakuzukan blog seems to have uncovered karabori (dry moats) and dorui (earthen ramparts) as well as kuruwa (baileys), which is basically a whole castle ruin. He seems to find that which others do not, and must be strong in the Way. He does note that most of the ruins have been destroyed.

Unsure that I would be able to find anything significant or even reach the site, I contented myself with viewing the site from below, photographing the impressive line of cliffs on which the fort once sat (most pictures of this site show these cliffs). It seems the castle spread inland, forming a clifftop-style castle layout. The site today is orchards and fields, and there is an explanatory board set up to mark the site. Unfortunately the Chūō Expressway ploughs right through the centre of the castle site, and this is why most of the ruins are now lost. I may yet be too low a level to fully crack this site; I will return after I gain more experience points.

(Update: I went back here. There is an explanatory board about the site. Unfortunately the second bailey has now been built over by a solar panel array, and it seems that any earthworks have been destroyed.)
 
Hirai Yashiki (Kai) / 甲斐平井屋敷

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I visited the site of Hirai-yashiki as part of a bike ride around Yamanashi Prefecture; it was the first site I visited that day. Unfortunately there are no ruins of the yashiki (medieval residence), and the site is now a small village and vineyards. Whilst poking around, however, I realised I was being watched...
 
Hirata Yashiki / 平田屋敷

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The Hirata-yashiki, also known as the ‘Former Hirata Residence’, was originally located in the Shōkō area of Kobuchizawa, but it was moved closer to the station in 1992. The main living area (that is, a house) is now preserved alongside a local museum building, and is open to the public.
 
Iida Yashiki / 飯田屋敷

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No ruins remain of Iida-yashiki, and the site is now that of Kumano-jinja in the Kita neighbourhood of Yatsushiro Township, Fuefuki Municpality, Yamanashi prefecture.
 
Ijiri Yashiki / 井尻屋敷

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Ijiri-yashiki is a well preserved fortified residence site in rural Lower Ijiri, Yamanashi Municipality (Upper Ijiri is in Kōshū Municipality). The site has the remains of dorui (earthen ramparts), particularly in the north and west; it seems that the residence was surrounded by two layers of dorui, as an inner layer with a moat and earthen bridge is also apparent in the northwest. However, since the site is private property, a full reconnaissance was not possible.

I walked all around the outside of the site. Portions of dorui continue sporadically and there are various segments going in different directions to the south, indicating that fortifications may have ensconced multiple baileys (some of the dorui is bounded by stone blocks, and some of that has been modernised with concrete). The dorui is overgrown or flattened in some places but it seems it ran for at least 200m north-south. I entered a bamboo grove at the southern limit of the ruins and found an earthen storehouse ruined by fire.

A large, spacious rural home sits on the site of the yashiki today, and it has a fine gatehouse. It appears to be a modern reconstruction, but looks very handsome and stately in the style of a gatehouse combined with a row-storehouse. A water way runs afore it with a stone bridge spanning, just like a moat! Though a little narrow. What’s more, this gatehouse does not face the road but is positioned so as to necessitate a right-angled turn when entering the property, just like a masugata (square) gate complex. Though the driveway is quite clear now with some old flagstones and grass, it’s not hard to imagine some kind of fence or palisades here to accentuate the entry area’s defensive power – as with a barbican.

Eastern parts of the dorui are lost (though the bending of the road makes it clear where the walls ran), but in the northeast there is a bulky earthen platform which is even suggestive of a foundation for a small tower. Overall Ijiri-yashiki is a great site representative of a large yashiki.
 
Itagakiyama Noroshidai / 板垣山烽火台

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This noroshidai (fortified signal tower) site is now a quarry? There appears to be no access to the mountain due to industrial activity. The exact location of the noroshidai on the ridge is unknown.
 
Itou Genba Yashiki / 伊藤玄蕃屋敷

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Itō-Genba-yashiki is a medieval residence site in the village of Itōkubo, but no ruins remain, and the site is now fields and rural homes. At the community centre there is a signboard which lists who lives where in the village; many occupants in the area of the yashiki are called Itō!
 
Iwakubo Yakata / 岩窪館

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Although no ruins remain, the site of Iwakubo-yakata can be found by searching for the Kawajiri Mound south of the cenotaph for Takeda Shingen. From the Shingen mausoleum one has to enter into the grounds of an old school, cross a gateball court, and then slip through a small door in a chain-link fence, following a narrow, hidden path behind several homes. Here there is a small stele commemorating Kawajiri Hidetaka and his short-lived rule over Kai Province. This hidden piece of history, overshadowed by a monument to the great Shingen, seems treated like a secret best forgotten.
 
Iwasaki Yakata / 岩崎館

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Little remains of Iwasaki-yakata, and when I went there were many workmen cutting back weeds along the road. They stopped working when I came by, as a safety precaution, and were shouting at each other over the hum of their grass trimmers to alert their colleagues. Naturally I did not want to be any more 'jama' than necessary, so I just took some quick pictures of the embankments along the roadside and read the information board for the site before quickly leaving. It turned out that there anyway was very little to see, as the site is now vineyards and private property barred to the public.
 
Jikki Yashiki / 十騎屋敷

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Jikki-yashiki, a medieval fortified residence site in the Minowa area of Takane Township in Hokuto Municipality, Yamanashi Prefecture, has no remains. There is a hilltop on the plateau with rice paddies beneath. It’s hard to tell how much the landscape has been altered. Was the hilltop fortified with a residence below?
 
Jou Ian Yashiki / 城伊庵屋敷

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No definitive ruins remain of Jō-Ian-yashiki, a medieval fortified resident site in Kamikanogawa, Yamanashi Municipality, and the site is now housing. Down a foot path I found a waterway, like an irrigation ditch, and this is thought to be a former moat; perhaps with the path included it would indeed be just wide enough for a simple moat.
 
Jukkumi Yashiki / 十組屋敷

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Jukkumi-yashiki, a medieval fortified residence site along the ‘Shingen Road’, may not have any ruins to see, but there is a tall stele marker and a big sign announcing the site of the ruins. On the reverse side of the sign, which is close to being a billboard, there is an explanation about the history of the site.
 
Kagami Yakata / 加賀美館

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Kagami-yakata is a fortified manor hall site in Kagami Township of South Alps Municipality. The site is now that of a temple, Hōzenji. To the south is a waterway which is supposed to have been a moat, though it has been narrowed for road construction and modernised as an irrigation channel. The retaining wall and parapet wall are also clearly modern, but add a little to the atmosphere. Some information boards at the temple explain about the history of the site and Kagami Tômitsu, the lord of the manor. The temple has an elegant gatehouse, and a modern hall housing a large statue of Fudōmyōō (Lord Akala, Immovable Wisdom King).
 
Kamikurabara Fort / 上蔵原塁

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Kamikurabara-rui is a medieval fortified residence site in the Kurabara area of Takane Township in Hokuto Municipality, Yamanashi Prefecture. I went into the woods which now occupy the site (really a cedar plantation) where there are some old cenotaphs here and there. I could confirm no ruins, even though there is supposed to be dorui (earthen ramparts) here. I took a picture of a mound of earth near a canopied wood-cutting shed. I suppose it could be dorui but it’s hard to tell. Apparently there used be a berm 200m long here, which is quite big for a residence.
 
Kanemaru Yakata / 金丸館

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Kanemaru-yakata is a fortified manor hall site which is now a temple, Chōseiin, in Tokunaga Township, Minami-Alps Municipality, Yamanashi Prefecture. It sits on a terrace of the Kamanashi River. The main fortification features of the yakata are the rear rampart of piled earth, found to the west, and indications of a karabori (dry moat). The dorui (earthen ramparts) form a long segment in the west, but there is also a corner segment and shallower segment which turns toward the cliffside in the north, indicating that this is where the yakata's northern limit was. The southern limit is suggested as being where the road now runs to the south of the temple. It's nice that this dorui segment has been moderately well preserved as part of the temple grounds.
 
Kazama Yashiki (Kai) / 甲斐風間屋敷

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Up until very recently an intact residence site remained here, what looked to be an old home surrounded by neatly groomed dorui (earthen ramparts) and gate ruin. However, the site has recently been destroyed. Some traces of dorui may remain but the prognosis does not look good. Another minor local history site has been lost senselessly.
 
Kitagejou Fort / 北下条塁

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Only a sorry clump of earth remains of Kitagejō-rui, a fortified residence.
 
Kitagejou Yashiki / 北下条屋敷

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The site of Kitagejō-yashiki is now fields, bamboo groves and residential plots. I tried to get as close as possible to a large grove of bamboo, suspecting ruins there. In doing so I came across a row of bamboo leading away from the main grove between houses. Here I found what looked like dorui (earthen ramparts). The dorui can be found on either side of a Chinese restaurant. There is a large garden adjacent. I wasn't sure if it was part of the restaurant or what but there was no barrier separating them. There is a grand old house here with impressive walls. I went around this home. I don't know how old any of the architecture is, but it is nonetheless impressive, and there is also a fine gate. This, thought I, must be the true inheritor of the old medieval residence. It seems another castle blogger found another part of the dorui on the other side of the garden and restaurant, so it goes on a fair way. It's hard to know the dimensions of the site just from this broken line of old ramparts, but my suspicion is that the fortified area was fairly spacious, probably in the same ballpark area as Kitagejō-rui to the northwest.
 
Kobushi Castle (Tsuru) / 都留小伏城

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Kobushijō in historical Tsuru County is a rather minor site but it has the advantage of being easy to reach as it is only on a small hill. Formerly there was a Konpira shrine on this hill, but that, in turn, is now gone too, and only a small altar remains. There is a sign at the bottom of the hill indicating the way to ‘Jōyama’, indicating the castle-mount (the pronunciation is apparently a local one). It’s hard to know what earth was heaped and levelled for the medieval fort as opposed to the later shrine, but definitely something was built here, and it does look like a probable bailey site to me. There is also some terracing beneath the embankments. Lower terraces may have been cultivated in later times.
 
Komai Yashiki / 駒井屋敷

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At the rear of a fine, old rural home in the Komai area of Fujii Township, Nirasaki Municipality, is a bamboo grove. This grove, which forms a long border a the back of the home, is actually a long segment of dorui (earthen ramparts). It is 2m tall or more in places, but it is difficult to photograph as it is covered in bamboo. The dorui represents the ruins of the Komai-yashiki. The old residence itself, though a much later structure, is also the inheritor of the Komai estate. The current residence has a nagayamon (row-gatehouse) which may date to the Edo period. The omoya (main residence) also may be from that time as it is built in the vernacular style of Kai. The house is still occupied and not open to the public. It seems some castle bloggers have missed the dorui, which is behind the residence, but in fact there is a small back road which follows the dorui along, and I was able to get a good look there. I was quite impressed with the old fortification structure, but I worry my pictures don't show it well...
 
Kosodeonzakijinja Castle / 小袖御崎神社城

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Kosodeonzakijinjajō is now the site of a shrine to Inari. There seems to be what remains of a deep dry moat partially surrounding the shrine.
 
Kosuge Castle / 小菅城

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Kosugejō is an earthworks yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in Kosuge, a village hidden deep in the mountains between Kai (Yamanashi) and Musashi (Tōkyō). Kosugejō is not particularly big or noteworthy, but it does have some clear remains and for such a small site it is very well maintained; being the namesake of the village, it is well cared for by the villagers. There are many signs which indicate features such as trenches, earthen ramparts (including a wide segment suspected of supporting a turret) and a detached barbican (demasugata), and explanation boards detailing the site’s history. Indeed, the site is designated as a historical site by the municipality. If only every small castle site was so well loved!
 
Koudaiji Fort / 光台寺塁

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Kōdaiji-rui is one of several fortification sites in the Nakada Township, Nirasaki Municipality. It is also now the only one with ruins which can be positively identified. The temple Kōdaiji, for which the site is named, is partially surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts), with the best preserved segment in the northwest corner. Parts of the dorui have a stone retaining wall but this is likely the later work of the temple. The temple is raised above surrounding rice paddies.
 
Koujin'yama Noroshidai / 荒神山烽火台

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Kōjin’yama-noroshidai is a fortified signal tower site. Even though it is on top of a tall hill surrounded by forest, the site itself has been turned into a vineyard. It’s not clear if the terracing was made for the vineyard or predates it, but there’s not much feeling of fortification ruins here unfortunately.
 
Kouka Saburo Yashiki / 高家三郎屋敷

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Kōka-Saburo-yashiki is a yashiki (fortified residence) site in the Kōka locale of Yatsushiro Township in Fuefuki Municipality, Yamanashi Prefecture. No ruins remain. The site is just south of Shingetsuin, a comely temple. The smell of plum blossoms was in the air!
 
Kuranomae Fort / 蔵之前塁

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Lucky! When I came I found all of the bamboo and clutter from atop of the dorui (earthen ramparts) around this medieval fortified residence site in Fujii Township, Nirasaki Municipality, had been cleared back. Kuranomae-rui is also called Imafuku-yashiki. Ruins remain in the form of dorui, chiefly a long segment to the north of the site. There is an old residence on the site which, built in the vernacular style of Kai, looks like it dates to the Edo period, though it has modern materials covering the walls and roof. This old home and its tenants (many members of the Imafuku family still live in the vacinity) carry on the legacy of the medieval manor hall. Because the residence is still occupied it is not open to the public. There is a narrow lane that goes down the side of the house and grants access to some fields to the rear, which is how I saw the site.
 
Kurihara Yakata / 栗原館

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Kurihara-yakata was once a large fortified compound with multiple square baileys each of about 100m on each side. Today there are scant remains but these include a surprisingly tall segment of dorui (earthen ramparts) to the northeast of the main compound, and the traces of a moat and embankment to the west of the site. This ishigaki (stone walls) here is not related to the yakata, but it's nonetheless fitting with the moat bed in front of it. Another dorui segment is to be found in the south near Ten-jinja, but it is covered in concrete holding stones in place like some kind of icing on an unappetising cupcake. The yakata is thought to have also encompassed the sites of the temples Myōzenji and Daihōji in the east, making it quite large (perhaps a forerunning would-be Tsutsujigasaki Palace).
 
Mamyoda Fort / 大豆生田砦

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The history of this fort site, Mamyōda-toride, is fairly well known but scant ruins remain. This elevated area with an old olive holly (false holly) in the corner, a natural monument (the largest of its species in Yamanashi), is the remnants of the fort, and it is now a cemetery. Most of the fort ruins, which encompassed moats and ramparts, has been cleared away and a large highway now ploughs through the site (one castle blogger points an accusatory finger at the Japan Highway Public Corporation as a major destroyer of castle ruins in Yamanashi, saying the Chūō expressway alone has destroyed ten such sites). We can get some idea of the defensive position from visiting the cemetery, and there is some nice old ishigaki (stone wall) here, though it is not from the time of the fort.
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