Chikuma Sasano Castle
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.
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.
|English Name||Chikuma Sasano Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Horikiri, Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa|
|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|
|Added to Jcastle||2021|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|