Hinohara Castle

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MusashiHinoharajou (1).jpg


Hinoharajō was first constructed in 1413 by Hirayama Masayasu under the orders of Ashikaga Mochiuji. It was a time of tension between east and west in Japan, with Ashikaga Mochiuji, the fourth Kantō-kubō, heading the Kamakura Governorate until his deposition in 1439. Subsequently the Hōjō became hegemonic in Kantō and used Hinoharajō as a border fort to protect from invasions from the Takeda of Kai.

In 1580 a dispute erupted between peasants under the Hirayama Clan, who still controlled Hinohara, and peasants belonging to the Nakayama Clan, other vassals of the Hōjō (disputes between peasants were also very common in the Sengoku period, and would often erupt over rights to water and other resources). Hōjō Ujiteru quickly cautioned the Nakayama not to incite the Hirayama, as if they flipped sides to support the Takeda, it would open the gates to an invasion of Musashi Province. In 1581 Hirayama Ujishige spearheaded the Hōjō attack on Tsuru County in Kai Province as part of the wider anti-Takeda coalition to invade and subjugate Kai.

Historical documentation suggests that repairs were made at or near Hinoharajō in 1588, as Hōjō Ujiteru ordered the local leaders to secure peasants for such work (peasants who fled to other villages to avoid labour, he decreed, should be put to death). In 1590, during Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Kantō, Hinoharajō was conquered as part of the wider campaign around Hachiōjijō. There is a tradition that following the fall of Hachiōjijō, remnants of the garrison of that castle actually made their way to Hinoharajō where, along with Hirayama Ujishige and his men, they put up some final resistance against the invaders before being overwhelmed.

Visit Notes

Hinoharajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) in Hinohara Municipality, Tōkyō Metropolis. It features earthworks such as kuruwa (baileys), tatebori (climbing trenches), horikiri (trenches), and dorui (earthen ramparts). A long, steep hairpin trail leads to the castle site from Kichijōji, a temple at the castle mount which formerly constituted the castle’s kyokan (living halls). To the right of this trail is a long, deep tatebori which goes from the temple all the way up the mountainside. This is an impressive earthwork. Another impressive feature is the complex of three horikiri in a row to the rear of the site.


Castle Profile
English Name Hinohara Castle
Japanese Name 檜原城
Founder Hirayama Masayasu
Year Founded 1413
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Kuruwa, Dorui, Tatebori, Horikiri, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Brisk 20 minute hike from Kichijōji, Hinomura Village
Visitor Information 24/7; Free; Mountain
Time Required 50 minutes
Website https://hinohara-kankou.jp/spot/hinoharajo/
Location Hinohara, Tokyo
Coordinates 35° 43' 34.79" N, 139° 8' 37.18" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Umoreta Kojō
Shiro Meguri

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