Kissatsu Castle


Kissatsujou (6).jpg


Kissatsu Village existed from at least 1497 but it is unknown when the fort was built. It may have been a redoubt for villagers, or used as a fortified signal beacon. The villagers engaged in sericulture. In 1582 Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated the Takeda Clan, former rulers of Kai Province, and granted land to Komai Masanao which included Kissatsu. It is unknown when the fort was last used.

Visit Notes

Kissatsujō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in Kissatsu Village, Yamanashi Municipality. The fortified area overlooking the village consists of only a single bailey complex, a flattened hilltop with some terraces beneath. There is a small flattened portion further along the ridge, perhaps used for a signal tower, but it is unknown if this was also part of the fort. Beneath here was a cutting in the ridge, but it seemed to be used for an old mountain path rather than related to any fortification.

I climbed to the fort site without a trail from the necropolis of Hōrinji, a temple in Kissatsu Village. It seems there should've been a trail, but I couldn't find it. There was a sign pointing to the castle in the village, and another sign at the temple. Pictures of this site on the internet are scant, but I found one on Yamareco which showed a sign also on the castlemount, but I didn't see that one myself.

I also took some pictures briefly of Kissatsu, a village hidden in the mountains with many old homesteads. Going further into the valleys that day became almost forboding. The abandoned homes increased in number. At first I thought it was a shame that the homes were emptied and untenanted. But soon the houses became so ruinous and dilapitated that the idea of any of them still being inhabited was unnerving. Kissatsu sits independent of any valley, being truly hidden and surrounded by mountains, and the old homes here belonged to sericulturalists. The distinctive raised roof portions, an architectural form vernacular to Kai, is called, of all things, yagura-źukuri, or 'turret-style', with these raised rooftops providing ventilation for the upper floor of the cottages which served as silkworm nurseries.

Note on possible readings of the castle name: I wrote in my notes, initially, 'Sessa' as the name of this site, which was my guess as to the reading of the kanji, but it seems the reading was more likely some variant of 'kiri', the kun'yomi for 切. Possible readings of 切差 are Kirisatsu, Kirisashi, Kirisasu, Kitsusatsu, Kissatsu, and Kissasu. The village is today called Kissatsu, so that's what I'm going with for the castle name, even though it was not necessarily the same as the village, and the village in the past was also alternatively called Kissasu -- and an even older attested name is 'Kirisasu (霧指)', meaning 'burnt fields in the fog'. I bet each household in the village calls it by a different name...

  • Sign to castle mount at temple

Castle Profile
English Name Kissatsu Castle
Japanese Name 切差城
Alternate Names Kirisasujō (霧指城)
Founder Unknown
Year Founded 1497-1582
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Visitor Information
Access I climbed without a trail from Hōrinji, a temple in Kissatsu Village
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 30 minutes
Location Yamanashi, Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 43' 49.69" N, 138° 37' 45.05" E
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Added to Jcastle 2024
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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