Kakiage Castle (Chikuma)

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ChikumaKakiagejou (1).JPG


In medieval times Hofukujimachi was an important rest stop along the route between Chikuma (Matsumoto ) and Ogata (Ueda). Kakiagejō, also called Hofukujijō, was built to overlook and guard the road and the Hofukuji pass. Kakiagejō was built by Ogasawara Nagatsune in 1503 and also served as a branch castle subordinated to Kariyaharajō. The castle was captured by Takeda Shingen in 1553. Later the resurgent Ogasawara Clan reclaimed the fort in 1583. By the Edo period Kakiagejō was replaced by the Hofukuji-sekisho, a checkpoint, and this was sufficient in the new era of Tokugawa hegemony; the yamajiro was antiquated and abandoned.

Kakiagejō was likely developed gradually throughout its almost century long career. At first the main bailey was built as a rudimentary fort, and this is probably where the castle's name derived. Later bands of sub-baileys were added beneath the main bailey by terracing the mountainside with narrow ledge-like cuttings. Trenches were then dug along the ridge line, adding rear protection. At a later time, perhaps after the fall of the Takeda Clan, the fort was further fortified with stone walls, and the trenches were extended down the whole mountainside, forming climbing trenches. At some point a satellite fortification known as Sarukoya-toride (Sarukoya Fort) was added. What began as a simple watchpost by degrees developed into a significant fort.

Visit Notes

Kakiagejō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin with earthworks and masonry ruins. Defences include horikiri (trenches) and three tatebori (climbing trenches) streaking down the mountainside. There is a small lesser bailey between two larger trenches but Kakiagejō is a fort made up of only one principal bailey complex, though terracing beneath the main bailey is extensive with up to fifteen bands, particularly to the northeast, which is where I ascended the mountain. Since there is no trail, I just clambered up on my hands and feet (using gloves). What a way to shake off the New Year rut! It was fun but tiring. Kakiagejō also has the remains of stone walls around the main bailey, and there are stone blocks indicative of fallen masonry strewn all about the central part of the fort.

'Kakiage' is a curious name. Nowadays most people will think of tempura, but a 'kakiagejiro' historically describes a simple fort made from piling up earth. This seems then like quite a generic name, and it is the castle's principal name, but it had others, including Hofukujijō (保福寺城)(after the settlement below), Miatejō (見当城), and Kakeǵāgejō / Kakegamijō (掛ヶ上城), which I'm probably not rendering properly but which also seems to describe a type of construction method. 'Kakiage' may in any case be something of a misnomer because although the castle is small its builders went to the trouble of piling stones for stolid walls, though perhaps these were an upgrade to the fort at a later date.

  • Ishigaki

Castle Profile
English Name Kakiage Castle (Chikuma)
Japanese Name 筑摩掻揚城
Alternate Names 保福寺城・見当城・掛ヶ上城
Founder Ogasawara Nagatsune
Year Founded 1503
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Ishigaki, Dorui, Shukuruwa, Horikiri, Tatebori, Koshikuruwa
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Bus from Matsumoto to Shiga
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 18' 38.20" N, 138° 1' 41.66" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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