Ichigōyamajō (also rendered Ichigōsanjō) dates to the time of the war between Uesugi Norizane, the Kantō Kanrei (deputy generalissimo of Kantō), and Ashikaga Mochiuji, the Kamakura Kubō (supreme generalissimo of Kamakura and Kantō), in the Muromachi period. The castle was built by the Uesugi Clan in the renkaku-shiki, or 'chain-link layout', with one bailey situated after the other along the mountain ridge with trenches and embankments perforating. This is a typical design for medieval mountaintop castles. Ichigōyamajō was destroyed by the forces of Takeda Shingen in 1563. At that time the castellan was commander Abe, a vassal of Tabira Tomosada. Takeda forces encamped nearby and were able to cut off the castle's water supply, forcing it to succomb.
Behold, Ichigōyamajō! This is a mogi man's mogi, to be sure. The mogi tenshu (faux reconstructed keep) was built in 1989. The castle itself was real, but there are no remains. Now, the folly isn't the only thing on the mountain; there is a communications array, and a shrine and stuff, but it looks like the tower is built in what was once the centre of the castle. I sort of assumed there had been very little to see of the castle's ruins originally and that it was a small fort used as a beacon tower and look-out, but, according to maps I found online, this fort was well developed with several integral baileys and many smaller baileys separated by trenches along the ridge. The undulating ridge has been flattened to build a road, and the main bailey, which was in two parts connected by an earthen bridge, is now a carpark (this picture doesn't show the cars parked below). In other words, the real castle ruins were destroyed to build this fake castle. Is it worth it?
|English Name||Ichigousan Castle|
|Year Founded||14th Century|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||Three Tiers|
|Access||Nearest station is Yoshii Station on the Jōshin Railway; 90 minute walk / 17 minute drive (E18: Yoshii IC)|
|Visitor Information||Admission to the tower is free. Opening times: 9:00-16:00 in winter, and probably 9:00-17:00 otherwise|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 13' 12.40" N, 138° 59' 21.80" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|
|Nippon Shiro Meguri|