Gentairijō was the base of the Nirei-shū or Seni-shū, a local outfit consisting of fifty warriors during the time of the Takeda Shingen. When the Takeda were destroyed in 1582, the Uesugi reclaimed northern Shinano, and Naoe Kanetsugu, a vassal of Uesugi Kagekatsu, took over the area, allowing a small group of samurai called the 'Seventeen Knights of Shinshū' who had resisted the interregnum of Mori Nagayoshi to settle the area. Of which, the Ôba Clan established themselves at Gentairijō and neighbouring Senowakijō.
Gentairijō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in the hamlet of Tochigura, Suzaka Municipality. Ruins feature earthworks such as kuruwa (baileys), horikiri (trenches) and dorui (earthen ramparts). The structure is of a simple ridgetop fort with horikiri dividing bailey spaces along the ridge. The most notable feature are the deep, wide horikiri which break-up the ridgeline.
To access this site I rented a bicycle from the building opposite Suzaka Station and then cycled up to a forest road in Tochigura hamlet. There is a gate here to prevent animals from coming down off the mountain, so I left the bike and proceeded along the dirt trail on foot. Toward the end of the dirt track I hopped onto the ridge and began climbing. On the way up to the castle proper there is a minor horikiri before the ridge sweeps up.
Gentairijō is a fairly standard small-scale yamajiro for Shinano, and so one of its more distinguishing features might as well be its name, which contains 'Genta', which is a male given name, and quite unusual for appearing in a castle's name. The name appears to be a mystery. On the opposite ridge and above Gentairijō is a site called 'Falcon Feather Castle', which apparently has some ruins and appears to be a single bailey fort site, but I was not able to make it up there on this visit.
|English Name||Gentairi Castle|
|Founder||Nirei-shū; Ôba Clan|
|Year Founded||16th Century|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Kuruwa, Dorui, Horikiri|
|Access||Suzaka Station on Nagano Line; rental bicyle|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||40 minutes|
|Location||Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 36' 33.30" N, 138° 19' 41.02" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2023|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|