Sasano Castle (Chikuma)

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ChikumaSasanojou (1).JPG


Sasanojō was used as part of a network of fortifications protecting the territory of Aida and guarding the mountain trail that led between valleys (in former times mountain ridges were a frequently used means of going to-and-fro'). The Horidaira Clan acted as castellans. Horidaira village was located beneath Sasanojō and the castle may have been built as a redoubt for the villagers to flee to if they came under attack.

Visit Notes

Sasanojō is a curious ruin indeed. There is a principal bailey which is not so large but is typical of a mountainfort. To the north it is protected by a series of horikiri (trenches cut into the ridge). To the west is another series of trenches in similar fashion. To the south there is a narrow ridge. Beneath this ridge is a series of small baileys divided by karabori (dry moats) and dorui (earthen ramparts). To the south of here is a very interesting feature in the form of the umaya no kubo (stables pit). This area for keeping horses is formed from natural terrain, a sunken area surrounded on three sides by the encircling ridgeline, perhaps the remnants of a landslide. It's likely the bottom of this depression was flattened to create a bailey-like space well sheltered from without. To the north of the castle proper is a series of what looks like a row of yokobori (lateral trenches) and dorui. It's not clear to what extent these formations are man-made; I can't imagine how natural movements of the earth would've created them, but I'm not an expert in such a field. Perhaps the castle builders augmented the natural terrain to create a series of funnels. If so then this defensive feature is quite unlike any I've seen before.

  • Deep trench-like formations, part of a row of such structures

Castle Profile
English Name Sasano Castle (Chikuma)
Japanese Name 筑摩佐々野城
Alternate Names 笹ヶ城
Founder Horidaira Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Horikiri, Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Akashina Station on the Shinonoi Line; access via forestry road or hike from Samine Castle site
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 21' 33.73" N, 137° 57' 21.38" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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