Kita Majino Castle
Kita-Majinojō was constructed by the Kaneko Clan. The lord of the castle was Kaneko Tamibe. Another castellan may have been Kaneko Takuminosuke. Little is known about the castle’s history, and it is also thought that Kita-Majinojō was used as a satellite fortification of Arugajō to the south. It is said that the Kurumizawa Clan also occupied Kita-Majinojō, which would link it to Arugajō, as the Kurumizawa fought under the Aruga at the Battle of Ôtō in 1400, and date the Kurumizawa’s use of the castle to the 14th century. Archaeological investigations of the site have revealed the remains of a medieval residence.
On my way between Aruga Castle and Minami Majino Castle I came, by complete chance, upon a sign indicating the former site of Gongenzawajō. Around the sign was just fields and orchards. Gongenzawajō is another name for Kita-Majinojō, which would twin the site with Minami-Majinojō. One castle explorer's blog indicated that "the general shape" of the castle could be appreciated in a nearby park, but I didn't see where. It was quite difficult to work out where the site was referencing maps, and so in the end all I had to go on was the sign I had come across. Of course, simply stumpling upon a new site whilst going between two others was a welcome accident, even if I didn't find anything in the way of ruins.
I came back to this very minor site, Kita-Majinojō, in the Konami Township of Suwa Municipality, to check I didn’t miss anything. The Chūō Expressway, slayer of many a castle ruin, cuts through the middle of the castle site; the first time I chanced upon this site I found a sign to the west of the motorway explaining about Gongenzawajō, another name for this castle. There’s not much in the west and that area is now some old fields with slate walls criss-crossing. The ruins continue on the east side, however, so I came back to check those out.
The east has a little more to offer, but only a little more than nothing. The site of Kita-Majinojō encompassed the hill where the Tademiya Shrine is. Behind the shrine is a wooded area which may be part of Nishiyama Park. There is a mallet golf course here. The terracing of the hillside is noteworthy here, and may be related to fortifications. There is even a depression which looks somewhat like a moat, and suggestions of dorui (earthen ramparts) along some of the terraces. Unfortunately none of these formations are very distinct, so impressions of castle ruins amount to nothing more than suspicions. It’s possible the terraces were sculpted for agriculture, or even the park, after all. At least it was nice to visit the shrine and park.
|English Name||Kita Majino Castle|
|Alternate Names||Gongenzawajō 権現沢城|
|Castle Type||Fortified Manor|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Signboard, Kuruwa, Hori, Dorui|
|Access||Kami-Suwa Station on the Chuo Line; 70 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Suwa, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 0' 48.56" N, 138° 5' 16.58" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|