Inoue Castle


Inouejou (4).JPG


The Inōe Clan was founded by Minamoto Yorisue, the son of Minamoto Yorinobu, in the 11th century. During the Kamakura period they became a prominent clan in northern Shinano where they were also known as the Takai-Minamoto after Takai County where they were based. They spawned local branch clans such as the Suda and Takanashi clans. They would end up warring with the Takanashi Clan and by the Sengoku period they were being bossed by the Suda Clan which had eclipsed them.

Inōejō was built by the Inōe Clan, although it is not known when. When Takeda Shingen pushed into the area from around 1550, the local clans were split on whether to support Shignen or Uesugi Kenshin. Following the fall of the Murakami Clan, Inōe Tatsumitsu supported the Uesugi, forcing the Inōe into conflict with their former allies the Suda (the Suda were also at civil war). Inōe Tatsumitsu fought on the Uesugi side during the Kawanakajima Wars (1553-1564), during which time Takeda forces captured and took over Inōejō. Uesugi Kagekatsu took back territory in northern Shinano in 1582 following the fall of Takeda Katsuyori, and the Inōe were able to return to their ancestral lands. In 1598 Toyotomi Hideyoshi had Kagekatsu relocated to Aizu and the Inōe went with him, whereupon Inōejō was abandoned.

Visit Notes

Inōejō was the mountaintop stronghold of the Inōe Clan in the Sengoku period. It is made from a series of flattened peaks and ridges divided by trenches dug into the ridge. Inōejō can be divided between the upper ‘Great Castle’ and the lower ‘Lesser Castle’. The lower castle was a simple fort built upon terraces which formed small baileys. The two parts of Inōejō, also known as Shironominejō, are separated by elevation. Before the ridge sweeps up toward the upper castle there is a trench complex made up of three cuttings.

The main part of Inōejō is protected by a forward horikiri (trench) before the main bailey complex. The main bailey is wholly surrounded by a lower obikuruwa (belt bailey). Toward the rear of the site are three more horikiri which divide the castle’s outer bailey spaces.

  • Koshikuruwa (sub-bailey)
  • Inoue Castle seen from Takeno Castle; note the large rear trench
  • Castle layout (simplified) map
  • Castle mount seen from below
  • Dorui
  • Upper Castle main bailey
  • Lower Castle main bailey

Castle Profile
English Name Inoue Castle
Japanese Name 井上城
Alternate Names Shironominejō
Founder Inōe Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Kuruwa, Obikuruwa, Horikiri
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nearest Station is Murayama Station on the Nagano Line; Suzaka-Nagano-Higashi IC
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 90 minutes
Location Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 37' 40.87" N, 138° 16' 52.43" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Shiro Meguri
Kojō Seisuiki

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