Katsuyama Castle (Yatsushiro)

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KaiKatsuyamajou (12).JPG


Katsuyamajō was a castle belonging to the Aburakawa Clan, a branch clan of the Takeda Clan. The lord of the castle was Aburakawa Nobue who was the son of Takeda Nobumasa, the governor of Kai Province. In 1508 a feud broke out between Aburakawa Nobue and Takeda Nobunawa, Nobumasa’s son. According to the Katsuyama Chronicles, they clashed at the Battle of Bogamine, and Aburakawa was killed. In 1515 Oh’i Nobutatsu, a local chief, allied with the Imagawa Clan of Suruga Province to overthrow the Takeda Clan. The Imagawa occupied Katsuyamajō at this time. In 1517, however, a peace was negotiated and the Imagawa withdrew from Kai. In 1521 Fukushima Masanari, an ally of the Imagawa, invaded Kai. He was defeated at the Battle of Iidagawara and retreated to Katsuyamajō. After a second invasion attempt, however, his forces left Kai altogether. Following the fall of the Takeda Clan with the death of Takeda Katsuyori at the Battle of Tenmokuzan in 1582, various powers invaded Kai to carve it up. The Hōjō took over the north, establishing themselves at Wakamikojō, whilst the Tokugawa entered from the south. Tokugawa Ieyasu appointed Hattori Masanari as castellan of Katsuyamajō, and it was held by his Iga Battalion. Records indicate that they rebuilt the castle at this time, and so men from Iga were responsible for its final reconstruction.

It is not known what happened to Katsuyamajō after 1582. Although the castle was known to historians through at least half a dozen historical documents, its location became lost to history, and Katsuyamajō would have to wait four hundred years before it was found again; in 1983 the construction of a road unearthed the remains of the castle’s shukuruwa (main bailey), dorui (earthen ramparts) and karabori (dry moats) were unearthed.

Visit Notes

Katsuyamajō is a low-lying yamajiro (mountaintop castle) on a hill overlooking the Kōfu Basin. Features include kuruwa (baileys) and dorui (earthen ramparts) but the site is mixed forest, orchards and agricultural fields, and most of the earthworks are too overgrown with flora to see. However, it was totally worth coming here to meet two wonderful local residents: Badger #1 and Badger #2. It was my first time to encounter badgers. They emerged into a clearing where there were plum fruits scattered about, probably looking forward to lunch, only to encounter humans. These mini bears ('hole bears' in Japanese) hesitated for what seemed like some time - a dozen or so seconds - before hurriedly moving on, and I was able to get a good look at the adorable critters and take several pictures.

  • This is the Katsuyamajō in Yatsushiro County of Kai Province, not to be confused with the Katsuyamajō in Tsuru County of Kai Province – or any other Katsuyama castles!

  • Castle marker
  • Likely Koguchi
  • Badger #1 and Badger #2

Castle Profile
English Name Katsuyama Castle (Yatsushiro)
Japanese Name 八代勝山城
Founder Aburakawa Nobue
Year Founded Before 1508
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Kuruwa, Dorui, Karabori
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nearest Station is Kai-Sumiyoshi Station on the Minobu Line
Visitor Information 24/7 free; fields
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Kōfu, Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 36' 8.75" N, 138° 35' 46.25" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Shiro Meguri

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