Explanation by Chris Glenn, taken on FB : Damine Castle, Aichi Prefecture Also known as Jazuga (Snake Head) or Ryunoshiro (Dragon’s Castle) Damine Castle was built circa 1470 on a hill overlooking the village of Damine in north eastern Aichi Prefecture. It was constructed as a residence for the Suganuma clan, former retainers to the Imagawa clan, and then following the Imagawa defeat at the Battle of Okehazama, the Tokugawa clan. In the mid 1500’s Takeda Shingen began encroaching on the Tokugawa owned Mikawa lands, and the Suganuma clan again changed allegiances to that of the Takeda. There were those within the Suganuma clan, and within the ranks who were against this change of sides. Located on the Inakaido, an important route connecting Ina, Nagashino and Iwamura in Mono (Gifu Pref.) and Koromo (now Toyota City) and then to Hamamatsu, Damine Castle covers a square-ish area about 200m each side. Dry moats and earthen embankments surrounded the western facing front of the castle, with it’s many terraced “kuruwa” or baileys. The uppermost bailey, the Honmaru, was oval in shape, and contained the lord’s residence and working area, a watchtower, retainer’s quarters, guard houses, possibly stables and kitchen facilities. The eastern facing rear of the castle is not so heavily fortified, as it is protected by the naturally steep cliffs along the Toyokawa River far below. At the Battle of Nagashino, Suganuma Sadatada had served with Takeda Katsuyori during the siege of Nagashino, but suffered greatly during the actual battle itself. Katsuyori himself managed to flee from the battlefield and accompanied by Sadatada, sought refuge at Sadatada’s Damine Castle. Upon their arrival, they discovered that Sadatada’s uncle Suganuma Sadanao supported by clan vassal Imaizumi Dozen had defected to the Oda clan, and shut the gates on Sadatada and Katsuyori. They were then forced to escape to Busetsu Castle, about 20km away. In revenge for this act of treason, Sadatada faked his own death, thus relaxing security at the castle. Early one morning, Sadatada and an army of loyal followers attacked the castle, capturing the fortress along with his uncle, Sadanao and Imaizumi Dozen. Both were executed in a public area near the castle along with 100 other traitors. Less than six years later, the Takeda clan were ruined. Fearing the growing strength of the Tokugawa, Sadatada left Damine Castle and fled to Ina in modern-day southern Nagano Prefecture. Damine was soon claimed by the Tokugawa who established another branch of the Suganuma clan, and trusted vassals, as castellan. Although the castle was abandoned during the Edo Period, the castle ruins had remained in relatively untouched condition, allowing for research and for the reconstruction of a number of features, including the lord’s Kyokan, the watchtower, gates and fencing to provide an image of a Sengoku Period castle.
When I met Chris Glenn for the first time in 2014, he told me about Damine castle. This Sengoku period site has several reconstructed buildings, and I wanted to go there from that moment. So, on 21/05/2023, I took a train on the Iida line, from Toyohashi, at 07:01. I got off at Honnagashino station. It takes about 1 hour. From the exit I went straight ahead for 80m. There is a small plaza with 3 bus stops on the left. From there I took the bus bound for Taguchi. It takes about 1/2h and costs 700¥, to get at Damine bus stop. Walk about 30m back and take the first road to the right. You'll see the signs indicating the direction to the castle. The reconstructed structures are splendid. I tried to cover all the kuruwa(baileys), but I don't know if I did all on the 'back'. These aren't even mentioned on the little pamphlet one receives at the entrance. It's strange, because at one point these spots got their sign post too, but they aren't maintained anymore. Beware, there are only hourly trains on the Iida line, and even less buses bound for Taguchi and back. So plan very carefully if you want to visit this fabulous site.
|English Name||Damine Castle|
|Alternate Names||Jazuga(Snake head); Ryunoshiro(Dragon's castle)|
|Year Founded||circa 1470|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Features||gates, turrets, bridges, palace, trenches|
|Access||Bus bound for Taguchi from Honnagashino station|
|Visitor Information||open 09:00-16:00; closed : Mondays, days following national holidays, year-end and New Year holidays; price 210yen|
|Time Required||2 hours|
|Location||Shitara, Aichi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 3' 17.78" N, 137° 32' 4.49" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2023|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|