Hirai Kanayama Castle

From Jcastle.info



In 1438 Uesugi Norizane was the Kanto Kanrei (governor of the Kanto provinces directly under the Ashikaga Shogun). When discord erupted between him and the Ashikaga he fled to the Kozuke region and built Hirai Kanayama Castle. In 1467, when the Onin War broke out, Uesugi Akisada established a new castle, Hirai Castle, from which the Uesugi would continue to govern until they were defeated by the Hojo in 1552. Hirai Castle is a hilltop castle and more suitable to governing a large province. Hirai Kanayama Castle remained as one of the mountaintop castles protecting the region and as the main backup castle to Hirai Castle when under siege. The castle was abandoned when the Uesugi were defeated.

There are some suspicious looking stone walls partway up the mountain. The man at the information center thought they could be from the remains of palaces built around the backside of the castle, but I think they look more like the remains of more recent farm fields.

This route to the castle is actually the rear entrance. The main entrance is the other side of the castle but that part of the base of the mountain is now a golf course. That partly explains why it is so steep and not so easy to climb here. There are some walking sticks near the trail head, if you don't have a trekking pole I suggest taking one with.

Visit Notes

There are very few busses from the station to the castle so please check the bus schedule carefully. For this trip I got off at the Hino Elementary School (日野小学校前) bus stop to visit Hirai Kanayama Castle and then walked to Hirai Castle where I got the bus back to the train station. There is not much left to see at Hirai Castle, but it's worth the short walk to visit and it's right on the bus line back to the station. In front of the Yashima Shouten Mae (矢島商店前) bus stop there is also a small volunteer run information center (I think it's their house) and the proprietors will happily give you maps and materials about the castles. The man's father was one of the main people who surveyed Hirai Kanayama Castle. I spent a good 30 minutes chatting while waiting for the next bus.

Loading map...

  • Honmaru
  • Entrance to the castle trail
  • Stone walls, likely to be modern.
  • More of the same stone walls
  • Lookout platform
  • Lookout platform
  • Entrance to the castle
  • large horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Sannomaru entrance
  • Obikuruwa Bailey
  • Sannomaru Bailey
  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • Honmaru entrance
  • Honmaru Bailey
  • Rest house in a bailey behind the Honmaru
  • Unnamed bailey and horikiri trenches
  • Castle entrance and trenches
  • Terraced Baileys
  • Terraced baileys
  • Leveled area for a lookout point
  • Terraced Baileys
  • Remains of a gate foundation
  • Otemon Gate foundation
  • Otemon Gate foundation
  • Otemon Gate foundation
  • Otemon Gate foundation
  • Large horikiri trenches on the way to the Well Bailey
  • Well Bailey illustration
  • Well Bailey
  • Map
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Hirai Kanayama Castle
Japanese Name 平井金山城
Alternate Names Hirai Tsumeshiro
Founder Uesugi Norizane
Year Founded 1438
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Gunma Fujioka Sta (Hachiko Line); 20 min bus (Kamidaira bus to Hino Shogakko Mae)
Visitor Information mountain trails open anytime
Time Required 120 mins
Website http://www.city.fujioka.gunma.jp/kakuka/f bunkazai/uesugisi2.html
Location Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 12' 50.72" N, 139° 1' 3.29" E
Loading map...
Added to Jcastle 2017
Admin Year Visited 2017
Admin Visits April 15, 2017

(2 votes)
Add your comment
Jcastle.info welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.