Takisawa Castle (Azumi)
The Takisawa Clan, descendants of the Nishina Clan, had been present in the area since 1230, and Takisawajō was their mountain redoubt. Their main residence, which has been established by Takisawa Shiroshige, was located at lower elevation. In 1546, Takisawa Muneshige fled to Echigo to seek help from Uesugi in the face of the advance of Takeda Shingen into Shinano. He left Koizumi Hyōgo in charge of the castle in his absence. In 1550 the castle was abandoned due to Takeda Shingen's entry into the area.
Takisawajō is half of a castle ruin. Remains include many koshikuruwa, terraced baileys built into the mountainside. The main bailey of the fort is nearly all lost, having collapsed in a landslide. Now there is a cliff where the main bailey used to be. These walls of loose sedimentary rock and dirt, which make for strange ramparts, are prone to collapse. I thought about climbing a small segment at one point but found it far too brittle. The mountains above Ikeda are made of this material; all of the mountain fort ruins I encountered that day showed signs of collapse in landslides. Given that it had rained very heavily the previous day, and the rivers were all flowing quick with brown torrent, I thought I ought to be careful. Before Takisawajō I had been to Tanoirijō (Azumi Tanoiri Castle), which is located at higher elevation but not far as the crow flies from Takisawajō, and before that to Shibutamijō (Azumi Shibutami Castle). The path between Shibutamijō and Tanoirijō is shaded by an embankment. A ridge, I thought. But then, checking out a small depression in the ridgeline which seemed like a curious parapet, I realised I was standing upon a huge cliff of rock and dirt. Small wonder then that Takisawajō has been partially lost with such tremendous movements of the mountain.
The sign board explaining about the castle is situated half way up the castle mount; they couldn't put it in the main bailey because the main bailey is gone! So that's a novelty. It's also not usual to see a smaller yamajiro site like this so well maintained; the castle site has a signboard and even a dedicated parking area at the foot of the mount. There are sign posts everywhere which say: クルワ（陣地）(Kuruwa (Jinchi)). I thought the phrasing odd. Kuruwa means "bailey" and Jinchi means "encampment". These baileys are all koshikuruwa, strips of sub-baileys terracing the mountainside.
|English Name||Azumi Takisawa Castle|
|Founder||Takisawa Shiroshige; Takisawa Clan|
|Year Founded||Medieval Era; Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Aźumi-Oiwake Station on the Ôito Line; 10 minute drive or 60 minute walk to trail head.|
|Visitor Information||Free; 24/7; Mountain|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Ikeda, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 24' 4.72" N, 137° 53' 51.50" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|