Iwabitsu Castle

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There are a couple different theories as to when this castle was founded including the 14th C. by the Azuma clan and the 15th C. by the Saito. For awhile it was thought to have been most likely built by the Saito and taken over by Takeda Shingen, but when Takeda defeated the Saito their main castle was actually nearby Iwashita Castle. When Takeda defeated the Saito, some of the Saito clan holed up in nearby Takeyama Castle (Nakanojo township). Iwabitsu Castle was likely built by Takeda at this point in time to threaten Takeyama Castle where the last remnants of the Saito held out for over a year. Sanada Yukitaka was lord of the castle for this battle as well as the attack on Shiroi Castle. Afterwards the Sanada continued to hold the castle for Takeda as an important part of the defenses connecting Numata to Ueda and preventing incursions by Uesugi Kenshin into the Kanto region. The castle was in service until the One Castle per Country edict of 1615 when it was abandoned.

Visit Notes

Iwabitsu Castle is a place that I have wanted to go for years, but never got around to it. With the recent attention brought to it by the Taiga Drama Sanadamaru I thought it was finally time to visit. I'm glad I waited a bit because they've trimmed out many trees making it easier to see the ruins today. Some guides will tell you to start from Gunma Haramachi Station, but that is a long, boring uphill walk that will do nothing but tire you out by the time you get there. I would recommend to start from Gobara Station, visit Seiryuin if you have time and walk the "Sanada Road" to Iwabitsu Castle. It is a nice walk through the old town and starts from a higher elevation so that when you walk to Gunma Haramachi on your way home, it is all down hill from Iwabitsu Castle.

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  • Large vertical trench
  • Honmaru bailey
  • Tengumaru
  • Nakajo Bailey
  • Trail to the Honmaru
  • Ninomaru bailey
  • North masugata gate ruins
  • Honmaru bailey earthen embankment
  • Honmaru trench
  • Honmaru and earthen embankment
  • Honmaru bailey
  • Honmaru bailey
  • Location of tower in the Honmaru
  • West side of the Honmaru
  • Honmaru and trenches
  • vertical trench
  • Honmaru trench
  • View from the Ninomaru
  • Honmaru trench
  • Honmaru trench and stairs
  • Honmaru trench
  • Honmaru Yokobori trench
  • Small bailey and yokobori moat
  • Yokobori trench and small bailey
  • Deep Honmaru tatebori trench
  • Trench
  • Trench and trail to the honmaru
  • trenches
  • Vertical trench
  • Trench
  • Vertical trench
  • Terraced baileys
  • Terraced baileys
  • Ruins of a gate
  • castle entrance
  • Lord's palace baileys
  • Bailey
  • Gate ruins
  • Ideurafuchi
  • Ruins of a checkpoint and watchtower
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Iwabitsu Castle
Japanese Name 岩櫃城
Alternate Names Azuma-jo
Founder Takeda Shingen
Year Founded 1563
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Gobara Sta. (Agatsuma Line), 40 min walk
Visitor Information Mountain trails, open any time
Time Required 75 mins
Website http://iwabitsu-sanadamaru.com/
Location Higashiazuma, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 33' 33.84" N, 138° 48' 16.09" E
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Added to Jcastle 2016
Admin Year Visited 2016
Admin Visits April 29, 2016

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