Fukayama Castle (Suruga)

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SurugaFukayamajou (8).JPG


Fukayamajō was a castle used by the Ano Clan in the Kamakura period, believed to have been built by Ano Zenjō in the late 12th century. After the dramatic assassination of Minamoto Sanetomo in 1219, various Minamoto clansmen were purged. Ano Tokimoto, the son of Ano Zenjō and nephew of Minamoto Yoritomo, resisted and was besieged at Fukayamajō where he was killed.

See also: Ano Yakata

Visit Notes

Fukayamajō is a truly mysterious castle ruin and strange place to visit. In the township of Suyama in Susono Municipality there is a forest road which leads to an abandoned hamlet. A hiking trail from this hamlet leads to the ruins of Fukayamajō. The site is flanked by a river. The river is mostly dried up, leaving behind a landscape of beautifully sculpted rock - like small canyons - in the riverbed. The rocks lining the river, some of which have been piled into stone walls, originally built to prevent wild animals from crossing the river into fields beyond, are lush with moss. With the river dry except for some puddles and tarns here or there - and, further up-stream, a small reservoir of crystalline blue hue - the silence is insistent, and what birds I did see fluttered about quietly without neary a chirp nor twitter.

The sense of abandonment and forboding grows steadily the longer one lingers here. The beautiful but chilling natural landscape is also blighted in some places by rubbish and old junk, including traces of piping and barbed wire. The area has a natural beauty, but seems avoided. Small wonder then that it is considered haunted. Yet, relatively recently, some sign posts have been installed which point out the ruins of Fukuyamajō, and there is an explanatory board with a primitive map. The trail has been cleared of plants.

The ruins themselves are coated in a thick cedar plantation which is not maintained, and include kuruwa (baileys) and some earthworks, such as embankments which line the trail, and, most prominently, a large karabori (dry moat) beneath the ichinokuruwa (main bailey), which is the top most bailey, sitting above the second and third bailey in turn. The ruins are for the most part very deformed, and to me the baileys did not seem well defined, though the karabori is well preserved (but it is the only one). The ninokuruwa (second bailey) is a dug-out type bailey where a portion of the ridge was left from an excavation to wrap around the flattened bailey area. These ruins are strange and inscrutable even to experienced castle-explorers, and the setting is uncanny, so that there is a sense of the weird and mysterious at Fukayamajō.

  • Site map
  • dry moat
  • Main Bailey
  • second bailey
  • Third bailey
  • Stone walls, likely built to stop animals climbing the riverbanks

Castle Profile
English Name Fukayama Castle (Suruga)
Japanese Name 駿河深山城
Founder Ano Zenjō
Year Founded c. 1192
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nearest Station is Iwanami Station on the Gotemba Line
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 40 minutes
Location Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 15' 0.04" N, 138° 50' 26.09" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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