Arashi Castle was built between the late 15th century and mid 16th century, but its current, complex layout dates to the late Sengoku Period. It was built by the Ogasawara Clan, nominal rulers of Shinano Province, to protect one Suwa side entrance into the valley where they had their main seats of power. Arashi Castle was the largest of three forts built along the same mountain, along with Iinawa Castle below it and Nishijou Castle at the very top.
Arashijō is was one of three castles located on the same mountain, located in the middle position between the other two, Iinawa Castle at the bottom and Nishijou Castle at the top. I actually came to Arashijō first because I was exploring a section of disused railroad nearby and found a convenient trail leading straight from the end of the line. I then climbed to Nishijou Castle before descending back through Arashijō down to Iinawa Castle, after which I found more disused rail (it was part of a switchback system and so following it brought me back to where I had started several hours earlier).
The ruins of Arashijō consist of horikiri (trenches), dorui (earthen embankments) and one central bailey. The largest segment of dorui and corresponding trench is located at the back of the main bailey. I found unworked stone blocks here and they seemed to be positioned in rows along the trench and so I don't know but it seemed like they may have been part of the castle. As I mentioned I came through Arashijō twice and both times I saw deer running near the ruin, probably the same group. Other nature includes a pretty birdy and a tree scratched by a bear and bleeding sap. Bonus: I found Shelob's Lair.
|English Name||Arashi Castle|
|Year Founded||16th Century|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Kuruwa, Dorui, Hori|
|Access||Midoriko Station on the Chuo Line; 10 minute walk to trail head|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 5' 17.05" N, 137° 58' 7.50" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|