Komaki Castle (Chiisagata)
It is assumed that Sanada Yukimura made use of Komakijō when he invaded Yodakubo, a mountainous area to the south. Komakijō was part of a string of fortifications set beside Onoyamajō and Mikkajō. It likely functioned as a beacon and a look-out. The castle is presumed to have played a role during both the first (1585) and second (1600) Battle of Ueda. Its origins are unknown.
The Komaki Castle Complex consists of an upper and lower castle, and each of those has a koya, which is a sort of secret redoubt, as well as branch forts, Ôte-toride (Komakijou Ohte Fort) and Nakaojō (Chiisagata Nakao Castle). The lower castle of Komakijō appears to be the main site in the Komaki Castle complex of fortifications and it is the most developed. It is triangular in layout with subsidiary baileys located around the shukuruwa (main bailey) at three points. The rear of the shukuruwa is protected by a large trench. This trench descends as a climbing trench down the mountainside and past a small koshikuruwa (hip bailey) beneath the main bailey. There is a small bailey and smaller trench to the rear beyond here. The shukuruwa is protected to the rear by dorui (earthen ramparts) which rise above the bailey space. If one take's the 'men's slope' down from the castle then one will pass along the ridge and through a bamboo grove and into a narrow flattened space with a sort of turned-up prow. This worked space is the Shimonokoya ('lower secret redoubt'), which was used as a place of hiding or ambush. Eventually the trail, which consists of rope sections and narrow spans between perilous drops, goes on down past some gigantic boulders to the site of Nakaojō.
I came to Komaki Castle nearing the end of the day. I had already climbed, by my counting, two mountains and two hills, as well as walked and hiked a considerable distance, and I had even jogged and cycled. I was not in the best condition then for the challenge presented by this site! There are two main trails which take one up the castle mount. They are 'women's slope' and 'men's slope'. The Onnazaka goes to a place between the upper and lower castle sites, joining with Otokozaka. The Ohte Fort is reached along the Onnazaka, and so I took it first. Now, obviously the 'women's slope' is going to be easier going than the 'men's slope', but even so it's a fairly steep trail. The Otokozaka lives up to its name as a very tough trail consisting of rope sections and narrow ridges spanning perilous drops. Needless to say this was a real challenge after a full day of castling, but luckily taking the Onnazaka up and the first section of the Otokozaka down proved the wisest route, yet the climb to the upper castle, which I went to before the lower castle, was still the toughest part.
|English Name||Chiisagata Komaki Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Dorui, Horikiri, Kuruwa, Koya|
|Access||Shinano-Kokubunji Station on the Shinano Railway; 25 minute walk to trail head|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Ueda, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 22' 30.97" N, 138° 15' 42.26" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|