The ruins of Nakayama-toride and the Kuwagatahara-noroshidai are located atop of Nakayama at an elevation of 836m. The fort was primarily a beacon fort used to send signals by means of fire, thought to have been built during Takeda Shingen's attack upon the Ogasawara at nearby Haibarajō. This may have initially been a defensive measure taken by the defenders, but the fort was taken over in anycase by Takeda forces. The word for signal fire in Japanese is Noroshi (狼煙), which can be written with the characters for "wolf" and "smoke". Why wolf? Because wolf dung was burnt to produce a thick smoke which was easiest to see. Japan's native wolf population was wiped out during the Meiji Period.
Noroshidai describes a signal tower, a beacon of fire and smoke used to transmit messages long distances very quickly as part of a vast relay system. Kuwagatahara-noroshidai, a small fort, perched on the peak of Nakayama, served also as a look-out. Beneath what is presumed to have been the site of a signal tower the mountain begins to descend and there is a trench ruin here, scant evidence of the existence of the fortified mount. A little along from here I also found a cyclindrical flattened portion of the ridge with shallower lips at either end. This symmetry seemed to me like it could represent worked earth and an extension of the fortification, but I cannot be sure. The view from the site of the noroshidai is very good. Castle bloggers who visit such minor sites as this report, along with the ongoing loss of the earthwork ruins, a small circular hedgerow with a marker inside to indicate the peak, where the signal tower was thought to have stood. This no longer exists. Instead there is a square green surrounded by a fence as a sort of sacred space or monument. This square area extends over a slope with a tree on, which overlooks the plain and grants views. Any evidence of an earthworks base for the signal tower has presumably been obscurred by this.
|English Name||Kuwagatahara Noroshidai|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Hirata Station on the Chuo Line; 70 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free|
|Time Required||10 minutes|
|Location||Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 11' 54.06" N, 137° 59' 27.06" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|