Kanaiyama Castle

From Jcastle.info



It was likely built by the Kanai clan around 1504. The Kanai were allied with the Murakami for around 60 years until 1550 when, along with the neighboring Terao clan, they allied with Takeda Shingen when he attacked the Murakami's Arato Castle. The Murakami attacked both clans and despite aid from Takeda's ally Sanada Yukitaka, Terao Castle fell and the Terao fled to Uesugi Kagekatsu in Echigo. The fate of Kanaiyama Castle is not certain but it likely fell to the Murakami as well. After Takeda Shingen took Amakazari Castle, it served as his main fortification until Matsushiro Castle was complete. Kanaiyama Castle and Terao Castle likely became part of the larger Amakazari Castle network defending around Matsushiro Castle.

Visit Notes

You can rent electric bicycles (or regular bicycles) at Matsushiro and easily visit Kanaiyama Castle or Kawanakajima from there. Along the mountain ridge are several small baileys and kofun. Beyond the huge horikiri is the last bailey with some stonework. I didn't actually make it there. Due to the cliff face beyond the large horikiri being covered in new fallen leaves and damp from the rain and frost, I decided it was too dangerous to go on. I made it to the other side and tried climbing up but it only looked like more slippery rock faces as far as I could see. I may try it again someday in better conditions.

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  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Kofun
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Kofun
  • Kofun
  • Trail

Castle Profile
English Name Kanaiyama Castle
Japanese Name 金井山城
Founder Kanai Clan
Year Founded 1504 (?)
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Nagano Sta.; Bus to Kawanakajima Battlefield, 40 min walk.
Visitor Information park open any time, see notes for more details
Time Required 90 mins
Location Nagano, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 35' 1.64" N, 138° 12' 21.89" E
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Added to Jcastle 2017
Admin Year Visited 2016
Admin Visits December 2, 2016

(2 votes)
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20 months ago
Score 0++
The Kanaiyama Castle-Mount is a mysterious place strewn with large boulders and containing several kofun (ancient burial mounds). I climbed inside two of the kofun along the trail. Another tumulus ruin has had its earth covering removed and the stones of the burial chamber exposed (the kofun come before the castle ruins but I show them after the castle ruins here). The castle ruins are also impressive, consisting of horikiri (trenches cut into the mountain ridge) and kuruwa (baileys), with some remaining ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) segments and the shukuruwa (main bailey). The cuttings into the ridgeline made by the castle builders are particularly impressive as they appear to cleft deeply through boulders and solid rock.