Ikarashi Yakata

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IkarashiYakata (22).JPG


Ikarashi-yakata was the fortified manor hall of Ikarashi Yoshitatsu, estimated to have been constructed in the middle Kamakura period. Ikarashi (Kobunji) Yoshitatsu, a retainer of the Kamakura Shogunate, is known to history from 1213 when he was killed attempting to defend the Shōgun’s palace from Asaina Yoshihide.

Folklore developed around the figure of Ikarashi Yoshitatsu (whose name could be read as ‘Lucky Dragon’). In ye olden days, there was a beautiful maiden who a young warrior took a liking to. He would come to stay with her each night. The mother of the maiden one day snagged a thread of the warrior’s kimono whilst he slept, and she intended to follow this thread to determine who the young man was. The next morning when the mysterious young lover left, the mother followed the thread, but was shocked to see it went only to a tarn which was known to be the abode of a dragon god. Her daughter fell pregnant and thereafter the young warrior was never seen again. There is only, of course, one interpretation of these events: Ikarashi Yoshitatsu was the son of a dragon god. Yoshitatsu’s grandmother wasn’t duped by a wondering philanderer, and, though he may have been a bastard, Yoshitatsu’s papa was a dragon god so that’s okay.

Regardless of their true origins, the Ikarashi Clan were a locally powerful clan who controlled Shitada Township in the Ikarashi river basin for almost four centuries. Ikarashi-yakata, measuring about 95m north-south and 80m east-west in a roughly square configuration with a 10m wide moat, is thought to have been intended as a show of power by provincial lords rather than as a stronghold with serious military capabilities.

Nagao Tamekage, deputy governor of Echigo, quelled an attempted rebellion by the Ikarashi and Ishida clans during the Kaga-Ikkō Revolt in 1506.

In 1578 Uesugi Kenshin died and Uesugi Kagekatsu (backed by the Takeda) and Uesugi Kagetora (supported by the Hōjō) went to war; Kagekatsu put Otate, the Uesugi-yakata, to siege, and Kagetora fell on his sword. The Ikarashi Clan supported Kagetora, the losing side, and thereafter disappeared from their manor, indicating that they either fled or were wiped out.

Visit Notes

Ikarashi-yakata is a yakata (medieval fortified manor hall) ruin in Iida village, Sanjō Municipality. The site is well-maintained as a local history park. A bailey is surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts) which have been restored. The bailey is roughly a square in layout, but there is a curious zigzagging indentation in the ramparts of the northeast corner. The entrance to the compound is in the east. The whole bailey is surrounded by a shallow moat.

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  • Entrance to the yakata with dorui
  • Bent ramparts. A 'demon gate'; or built for a turret?

Castle Profile
English Name Ikarashi Yakata
Japanese Name 五十嵐館
Founder Ikarashi Yoshitatsu
Year Founded Before 1213
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nearest station is Sanjō Station on the Shin’etsu Main Line
Visitor Information Open 24/7; free (park)
Time Required 40 minutes
Website https://www.city.sanjo.niigata.jp/soshiki/shimimbu/shogaigakushuka/bunkazai/bunkazai/1630.html
Location Sanjō, Niigata Prefecture
Coordinates 37° 34' 16.03" N, 139° 2' 49.78" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Shiro Meguri
Kojō Seisuiki

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