Koraku Castle

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MurakamiKorakujou (1).JPG


Korakujō was built by the Murakami Clan as part of the extensive network of fortifications surrounding their territory; Korakujō and Samizujō protected the southwest of Murakami core territory as a branch castles of Katsuraojō. In 1553 Korakujō was attacked by Takeda forces. According to the Ôsuga document (the Ôsuga fought on Takeda Shingen's side during his invasion of Chiisagata), Kojima Hyōgōsuke and his brothers died protecting the castle. Using regional allies who had turned to his side, such as the Ôsuga and the Muroga, Takeda Shingen assault the twin forts of Korakujō and Samizujō, as well as the Aratojō fort complex to the north. It is said that it was the fall of this Korakujō, 'steep enough for a fox to fall down', which convinced Murakami Yoshikiyo to flee to Echigo with Uesugi Kenshin. With Aratojō and Korakujō across the valley taken by the enemy, Murakami Yoshikiyo set his main base of Katsuraojō on fire and retreated from his territory for good.

Visit Notes

Korakujō, "Castle of Fallen Foxes", is twinned with Samizujō, being located below it on the same mountain. Korakujō's most handsome feature are its remaining ishigaki (stone-piled rampart) segments around the shukuruwa (main bailey) and ninokuruwa (second bailey). The koguchi (gateway) area of the ninokuruwa and the forward-facing berm there are strewn with stone blocks from collapsed walls, but some portions remain partially standing. The shukuruwa has a patch of ishigaki on the east side and a long, attractive segment on the west side. This seems to have been originally taller than its current condition suggests. The shape of the shukuruwa is boat-like, which is satisfying, and the ninokuruwa sits beneath it like a lower deck. To the rear of the shukuruwa are a series of horikiri (trenches) with some dorui (earthen ramparts), one of which is quite deep, some of which are shallow, and the others are somewhere in between in depth but obvious enough as one goes up and down them as though on a rollercoaster.

Related sites:

Samizu Castle

Arato Castle

Murakami Katsurao Castle

  • Ishigaki

Castle Profile
English Name Koraku Castle
Japanese Name 狐落城
Alternate Names 網掛小屋
Founder Murakami Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Ishigaki, Horikiri, Dorui, Koguchi, Kuruwa
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Tekuno-Sakaki Station on the Shinano Railway; 35 minute walk to trailhead
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Sakaki, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 26' 10.97" N, 138° 10' 20.32" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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