Koromogawa Date

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KoromogawaDate (2).JPG


Koromogawa-date, also known as the Takadachi and Hangan-date, was the yakata (fortified manor hall; also called 'date' and 'tachi') of Fujiwara Motonari built in the 12th century during the dynasty of the Ōshū-Fujiwara. From 1185, following the Gempei War, Koromogawa-date was the residence of Minamoto Yoshitsune in exile.

In 1187, Fujiwara Hidehira, leader of the Northern Fujiwara, died. He had his instructed his son and heir, Fujiwara Yasuhira, to protect Yoshitsune, but, due to pressure from Minamoto Yoritomo, the leader of the new Kamakura Shogunate, Yasuhira caved, and tried to take Yoshitsune into custody in 1189.

In June, 1189, Yasuhira's troops surrounded Koromogawa-date and a siege began. Whilst Yoshitsune committed seppuku, his loyal follower Benkei held off the enemy at the main gate bridge. In the common telling of this battle, Benkei killed three hundred warriors defending the bridge, forcing the besiegers into retreat. Then, afraid to approach the larger-than-life monastic warrior, they opted to pepper him with arrow fire. Benkei was shot with countless arrows, but he never fell down. It was quite some time before his attackers realised that he was dead still standing on his feet.

Visit Notes

Koromogawa-date is a fortified residence and hilltop fort in Hiraizumi Township, historical Iwai County. Ruins include earthworks such as karabori (dry moats), terraced baileys and dorui (earthen ramparts). It is now the site of a mausoleum for Minamoto Yoshitsune called the Takadachi-Gikeidō, erected in 1683 by Date Tsunamura, lord of Sendai Domain.

I visited this site in 2017. At that time I percieved it chiefly as a temple rather than a fortification. I walked all around Hiraizumi that day. The next year I visited a nearby mogi tenshu (faux reconstructed tower) called Koromogawajō or Koromogawa-Hiraizumijō, which was erected in 1970 in honour of the original Koromogawa-date. There's also a gate, so we can call it an entire mogi complex.

It should be noted that a nearby yakata site, the Settai-date, which I haven't visited - but is closer to the mock reconstruction - is also theorised to be the site of the manor hall where Yoshitsune died. This is because excavations there revealed an extensive site which would fit the profile of a grand residence. At the very least, something fortified was definitely built at the Takadachi, even if Yoshitsune died elsewhere.

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  • Takadachi Gikeidou Mausoleum
  • Faux Reconstructed Gate
  • Associated Mogi Tenshu

Castle Profile
English Name Koromogawa Date
Japanese Name 衣川館
Alternate Names Takadachi (高館) / Hangan-date (判官館)
Founder Fujiwara Motonari
Year Founded 12th Century
Castle Type Fortified Manor
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 3 Tiers, 4 Floors
Year Reconstructed 1970
Artifacts Dorui, Kuruwa, Hori, Mogi-Tenshu
Features main keep, gates, trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Hiraizumi Station on the Tōhoku Line; 20 minute walk
Visitor Information 8:30-16:15; 300 yen
Time Required 45 minutes
Website https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%A1%A3%E5%B7%9D%E9%A4%A8
Location Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture
Coordinates 38° 59' 49.99" N, 141° 6' 49.14" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Kojō Seisuiki

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