Kokuzousan Noroshidai

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The Tomono Clan built a fort on Kokuzōsan as a branch fort of their main castle of Maeyamajō. Kokuzōsan probably was used as a look-out. When Takeda Shingen conquered the area Kokuzōsan-noroshidai was built as a fortified signal tower, a node in a vast communications network. There is a legend that in 1540 a number of Takeda warriors were injured when they suddenly fell from their horses passing beneath the fort. It is said that a bodhisattva statue, the Kokuzōsan-bosatsu, was brought down to the base of the mount to ward off any evil plagueing the Takeda forces (though the temple was likely relocated before that to build the fort itself). The path up to the fort to this day has many buddhist statues. After the demise of Takeda Katsuyori, Saku was engulfed in the Tenshōjingo War between Tokugawa and Hōjō forces, and Kokuzōsan-noroshidai may have been destroyed at this time.

Visit Notes

Kokuzōsan-noroshidai, the first step on our miyagura tour in Saku, is a fortified signal tower site with a reconstructed miyagura in the main bailey. To the rear of the bailey there is dorui (earthen ramparts) heaped up over a horikiri (trench) which protects the rear of the fort where it connects with the ridge. Even though there is a watch tower, during our visit the whole fort was buried in a cloud and there were no views to be seen. On the way the mist was white, as of the mist of snow, but at the noroshidai it was grey, as of the mist of rain, and this atmospheric greyness surrounded the whole site. It goes to demonstrate that even though a noroshidai and miyagura are useful defensiveness measures, the enemy could still go undetected in adverse atmospheric conditions.

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  • Reconstructed Miyagura (Watchtower)

Castle Profile
English Name Kokuzousan Noroshidai
Japanese Name 虚空蔵山烽火台
Founder Tomono Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Kuruwa, Miyagura
Features turrets
Visitor Information
Access Yachiho Station on the Kōmi Line; 25 minute walk to trailhead
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 40 minutes
Location Saku, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 14' 3.66" N, 138° 25' 53.58" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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