Masugata Castle (Minochi)
Masugata Castle is not mentioned in any historical records so details are few. Takeda Shingen of Kai Province and Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo Province famously contested this area in a series of battles at Kawanakajima. It is thought that this site belongs to a network of fortifications built by Uesugi Kenshin. The castle ruin also shares a mountain with a large boulder named for Uesugi Kenshin (Kenshin's look-out boulder). So Masugatajō was used to fortify this area and as a base for the campaign at Kawanakajima - in all likelihood.
I visited the ruins of Masugatajō after going to Ohmine Castle. If one takes the mountain road from there, which is now closed to vehicles, it goes by Masugatajō and comes out at the top of Jitsukiyama Park, which is the place where I descended the mountain. The ruins of Masugatajō consist of two principal baileys, dorui (earthen ramparts), and various trenches. Some maps of the castle seem to indicate that the road was formerly a trench too, which is perhaps why a bridge was built over it leading to the castle site? This path is quite overgrown now, which is unfortunate since I ignored the sign post and tried to take it. There is another path indicated by sign posts which is better maintained. There are signs up throughout the site to indicate features, and an explanation board and map in the shukuruwa (main bailey). Indeed, Masugatajō is being much better maintained than Ôminejō!
"Masugata" means "box-shape" or "square". Since it indicates the layout of the fortification, there are several castles with this name: this is the second Masugatajō I've been to, the other being Musashi-Masugatajō. "Musashi" refers to the province and "Minochi" refers to the district. Nagano is vast with many, many medieval castle ruins and so I've been cataloguing smaller castle sites by district. Most of Minochi District is now the City of Nagano.
|English Name||Minochi Masugata Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Kuruwa, Dorui, Hori|
|Access||Hongou Station on the Nagano Line; 45 minute walk to trailhead at Jitsukiyama Park|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free|
|Time Required||45 minutes|
|Location||Nagano, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 40' 54.26" N, 138° 11' 22.88" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|