Nishiyama Castle (Azumi)

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When Nishiyamajō was first built is unknown but its origins are thought to lie with the Nishina Clan. On the other side of the river is Nishina-Shinmeigū, a shrine of extreme antiquity. And so the Nishina Clan were an old family of the area, and are well attested in local events and battles during the Late Heian Period. Their vassals, the Yaguchi, are thought to have manned the castle at some point. The Yaguchi Clan are mentioned being in this area by the Sangūhotakasha Gozōgū Sadame Nikki (三宮穂高社御造宮定日記), compiled in 1501, and the Shinputōki (信府統記), written in 1724, and so it is thought that Nishiyamajō was most likely in their possession. However, historical information about Nishiyamajō itself is scant.

Visit Notes

The ruins of Nishiyama Castle consist of a series of baileys along the mountain ridge perforated by trenches created by digging into the ridge. The trail at the foot of the castle mount winds up first to the sannokuruwa (third bailey), and then carries on to the ninokuruwa (second bailey) and ichinokuruwa (first bailey). After that there is a trail which goes down the other side of the mountain and crosses Milk River. The double karabori (dry moats) immediately after the second bailey (toward the first bailey) were my favourite feature of the castle. There is a shrine located in the first bailey. Each bailey and some trenches are marked – others aren’t. The ninokuruwa and sannokuruwa are next to each other but the ichinokuruwa is located discontiguous to the east. The castle combined with the scenery, including snow-dusted mountain peaks and milky flowing rivers, makes for a pleasant hike.


Castle Profile
English Name Nishiyama Castle (Azumi)
Japanese Name 安曇西山城
Founder Nishina Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Horikiri, Dorui, Kuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Azumi-Kutsukake Station on the Oita Line; 20 minute walk to trail head
Visitor Information 24/7 free
Time Required 120 mins
Location Ōmachi, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 26' 43.87" N, 137° 49' 50.63" E
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Added to Jcastle 2019
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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