Inukai Castle




The early history of Inukai Castle is unknown but it seems to have been around from very early times. The location allows great views of the entire Matsumoto plain and is naturally defended by cliffs on the west side. As the Ogasarawa extended their influence over the Matsumoto area during the Muromachi Period, the Inukai were absorbed as retainers. Ogasawara's trust in the Inukai was rewarded with further influence as the Kirihara clan was created as a branch of the Inukai clan to build Kirihara Castle and hold the lands around it. Although historical records are thin for Inukai Castle it would have fallen to Takeda Shingen in 1550.

Visit Notes

A very small ruin with only a few baileys and trenches to see. If you didn't know any better, you'd just think it was part of the park. If you have some time when you are in Matsumoto it is worth the visit at least for the views. The hill/mountain up from the Matsumoto Station area is much longer and steeper than I expected. It was the day I biked from Haibara Castle to Hayashiko Castle to Hayashioh Castle and since I had a little time left before dark I thought I'd bike here too since it's just north of Matsumoto Station but it was a tough climb. I probably pushed the bicycle more than half the way. The ride back was fun though.

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  • First Bailey
  • Third Bailey
  • First Bailey
  • Second Bailey
  • First Bailey seen from the Second.
  • Trench between the Fourth and Second baileys
  • Trench between the Fourth and Second baileys
  • Fourth Bailey
  • Route to the Fifth Bailey
  • Fifth Bailey
  • Large trench between the Fifth and Sixth baileys
  • Large lookout tower in the Sixth Bailey.
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Inukai Castle
Japanese Name 犬甘城
Founder Inukai clan
Year Founded late 15th C.
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Mita Matsumoto Sta. (Shinonoi Line), 20 min walk.
Visitor Information Park, open any time
Time Required 45 mins
Website index-p 67-htm
Location Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 14' 44.38" N, 137° 57' 15.62" E
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Added to Jcastle 2016
Admin Year Visited 2015
Admin Visits October 31, 2015

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55 months ago
Score 0++

Inukaijō was somewhat more interesting than I had expected. The neat row of baileys running along the hilltop numbered six, and I enjoyed counting as I went up and down over them. Firstly I came to bailey number six, where there is a modern lookout platform giving nice views of Matsumoto City and the surrounding plains, particularly to the northwest, which is a mixture of residential and agrarian land. A river borders the castle mount. Looking to the city and beyond we can see the mountains and slopes which contain many castle ruins; I've not been yet but I anticipate they'll be even more exciting than Inukaijō, if a little more inaccessable. At first I didn't even notice, but between the tops of two trees one has a clear view of the main keep of Matsumotojō. I think the zoom function on my camera has diminished somehow and I could only get a clear shot zooming in half way unfortunately. I was a little disappointed about that but subsequent investigating of Inukaijō, rather than Matsumotojō, roused my spirit again.

Between the sixth and fifth baileys is a trench which clearly slopes off down the mountain into an old climbing trench. Horikiri, or trenches which dice a mountain ridge, are very distinctive features; if one stands in them on their level parts, one can see the slopes of the trench to eachside, and then the sudden and abrupt descent of the mountain, usually against a wall of foliage, as it tumbles precariously over the edge of the level part.

The fourth bailey is set a little apart from the fifth. Partially surrounding the fourth bailey is a karabori, which has been restored, preserved or damaged, depending on how you want to look at it, with concrete. Any stone walls seen at Inukaijō are likewise modern. What looked like a remnant of dorui (earth-piled rampart) segment was also adjacent to the moat.

A large trench separates the fourth bailey with the uppermost baileys. The third, second and first baileys are clustered together. The first bailey is an elevated portion bordered by the second and third. The third bailey seems like a trailing bailey of the second, but there is no apparent difference in elevation or break between them so maybe there were originally separated by palings.

To one side of this ladder of baileys is the steep slope of the mountain against the river, and to the other is an expansive flattened area which is now a park. It seems that this has been a green space for people together from since the Edo Period when the Lord of Matsumoto opened it up to his subjects.