Honjinzawabata-toride was a fort built to protect the Nishimaki Clan residence of Otaya-yakata, which was located to the south. As Nishimaki territory expanded northward the border fort of Nagaojō was built in the northeast,and Nakatōjō, a mountain castle, was built in the nortwest, along with the Tongari-yashiki. Honjinzawabata-toride was used as a fortified space between these vital fortifications and the Nishimaki's main base. It's most intense period of activity likely came when Takeda Shingen invaded the province. The Ogasawara Clan, nominal rulers of Shinano, had pushed the Nishimaki south, back to Tayajō, but the Nishimaki sided with the Takeda and helped to besiege Nakatōjō and defeat the Ogasawara, at which time Honjinzawabata-toride was a border fort between the Nishimaki and Ogasawara.
Honjinzawabata-toride is a fort site, but no ruins remain. I respect any castle fans who came all of the way out here and did their best to identify what features may have been where, and even interviewed locals, but there really is nout to see. The site is now a farmstead and apple orchards, which describes much of Azusa. Honjinzawabata-toride was part of a large network of small forts protecting Nishimakijō. Taken together this array of cliff-top and mountaintop forts is quite interesting. Honjinzawa-toride is an exception, I suppose, in that unlike the other forts it is not on elevation, but flatland. The reading "Honjinzawabata-toride" is speculative; I also considered "Motogamizawabata-toride". For Japanese (language) it's okay to just use kanji, and never ever know the reading I suppose.
|Pre Edo Period
|Shimojima Station on the Kamikōchi Line is nearest station; 10 minute drive of 55 minute walk
|24/7; Free; Fields
|Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
|36° 13' 47.93" N, 137° 51' 3.28" E
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