Komasawajō was constructed by Ichijō Takanao. The castle’s kyokan (living area), where the Ichijō Clan had their main residence, is thought to have been located at the foot of the castle mount where the temple Ôzawazenji is today. The temple is said to have been founded by Ichijō Takanao who likely invited a monk to set up a place of worship at the clan residence.
Komasawajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) site in Ômachi Municipality. It is a series of earthworks following the ridge. There is an old trail which works its way via many switchbacks up to the central area of the castle, but I opted to start at the end of the ridge which overlooks the plain, and so I climbed the mountainside directly, crawling like a some foulsome bear. This meant I could see all of the castle, including minor terraces, without backtracking, though the site isn’t so large so it probably would’ve required less effort to just pick a less steep slope – anyway, I like to attack castles head-on.
To attack Komasawajō I was using a map by Yogo-sensei. Yogo-sensei actually made it up to this castle, so that was reassuring (it seems he gives up climbing to many sites in Shinano, and our province has bested him many a time – though, rather infamously for the man with the largest yamajiro blog, he doesn’t like climbing mountains). Anyway, I noticed several features not shown on his map. Yogo-sensei bases his map’s on Miyasaka Takeo’s, but I’ll assume that one is more complete though I haven’t seen it. Basically there is some terracing on the west side of the castle not shown on the map. Eastern slope terracing is shown. To me it seems that a spur from the ridge divides two flat areas beneath the middle section of the main castle, and that these were terraced and likely fortified. Further, a climbing trench dividing the northern baileys appears to continue as a lateral trench alongside one of these terraces before becoming a climbing trench again as it careens off the mountainside. There is no mistaking this extended tatebori (climbing moat) so I’m quite confident about this. Anyway, it’s always nice to be able to find things which aren’t on maps. On the other hand, features shown in the castle’s southern lower baileys (which I also noted terracing beneath on the western as well as eastern slope) seemed very deformed and ill-defined to me, and the map appeared more reconstruction than true depiction.
Komazawajō’s most readily identifiable earthworks are probably, besides baileys themselves, the dorui (earthen rampart) segment dividing the main bailey in two, and the two horikiri (ridge trenches) to the rear of the site. I think Yogo-sensei may have missed some things so I wonder if he went in summer when things were a bit too overgrown. I went in autumn and the foliage around the temple beneath the castle mount was very beautiful. I also photographed some terraced areas beneath the temple because this is where the castle’s kyokan is presumed to have been, but the masonry and such here likely dates to the Edo period.
|Pre Edo Period
|Tatebori, Horikiri, Dorui, Kuruwa, &c
|Nearest Station is Shinano-Kizaki Station on the Ôito Line
|Ômachi, Nagano Prefecture
|36° 32' 14.57" N, 137° 49' 2.71" E
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