Akiba Fort (Azumi)

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AzumiAkibaToride (3).jpg


Akiba-toride was a satellite fortification of Iidajō. Iidajō itself has relatively poor vision of the valley, whereas Akiba-toride juts out, granting views up and down much of the length of the valley, making it an ideal site for keeping watch and sending smoke signals. See Iida Castle for more information.

Visit Notes

Akiba-toride is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in Kamishiro Township, Hakuba Municipality. The earthworks which are remnants of fortifications are found on the ridge beyond the Akiba shrine. It's a little curious that the tip of the ridge where the shrine is has no obvious ruins, and so it is suspected that the ruins may have been cleared here for maintenance of the shrine. As for the shrine, it is also noteworthy that the shrine is an Akiba shrine, as these shrines are for the worship of Akiba-gongen (a gongen is a kami (god) which has attained enlightenment, represented in Japan's traditional religion of Buddha-Kami syncretism), a diety responsible for fire prevention. The god was often venerated at forts where signal towers were used, as Akiba-gongen was also believed to have been able to assist with controlling fires for smoke signals.

Akiba-toride's ruins feature horikiri (trenches), kuruwa (baileys) and dorui (earthen ramparts). The layout is of a simple fort which follows the ridge; baileys are separated by horikiri. The baileys are terraced on their southern sides. There are two extant baileys, but the site of the shrine may have consituted a third. The site is quite overgrown, but the trenches are in a state of good preservation, and still have steep scarps; I bet so few people have come here over the centuries!

Akiba-toride is the gateway to the Tsukiyodana tableland, a mountain with prominent flat areas and gentle peaks ('tana' means 'shelf'). In the north of Tsukiyodana is Iidajō, and in the south are the remains of a long karabori (dry moat). I went to the latter before backtracking to get to Iidajō. I thought that the difficult part would be getting to the tableland from the ridge with Akiba-toride on, but actually the whole area is completely overgrown and difficult to get around despite the relatively gentle change in elevation between peaks.

Note: this site is Akiba-toride in historical Aźumi County, not to be confused with Akiba-toride in historical Ina County, both in Shinano Province / Nagano Prefecture.

  • Horikiri (trench) and berm

Castle Profile
English Name Akiba Fort (Azumi)
Japanese Name 安曇秋葉砦
Founder Obinata Clan / Nishina Clan
Year Founded Early-to-mid' 16th century
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Horikiri, Dorui, Kuruwa, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Kamishiro Station on the Ôito Line; 10 minute walk to trailhead
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 40 minutes
Location Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 39' 15.01" N, 137° 50' 35.09" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki

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