Masugata Castle (Takai)


TakaiMasugatajou (1).JPG


Masugatajō is thought to have originally been built by the Yamada Clan in the early 15th century. It was then taken over by the Takanashi Clan (in the late 15th century Takanashi Takāsa of the Yamada-Takanashi branch clan used Masugatajō as his main castle, but Takanashi Masamori of the main Takanashi branch captured it in 1484). The Takeda Clan took over the fort following Takeda Shingen's conquest of the area around Kawanakajima. Following the decline of the Takeda Clan, the Uesugi Clan captured Masugatajō and returned it to the Takanashi Clan. A 1557 letter from Uesugi Kenshin to the Imafuku Clan refers specifically to the fort as the Yamada no Yōgai (山田之要害), 'Fortress of Yamada'.

Visit Notes

Masugatajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) site in the Nakayama area of Takayama Rural Municipality, Upper Takai County. The layout of the castle is like an 'X' with the main bailey complex at the centre. The southwest spur is the least developed and is truncated, with some terracing beneath the main bailey only. However, though the southeastern spur is more developed, the trail which climbs the mountain is along this southwestern ridge, so we have to take it.

Starting from the village of Yamada, I climbed the ridge to the main bailey complex, which is terraced with a lower and upper portion, and is surrounded by the remains of masonry and dorui (earthen ramparts). The northwest and northeast spurs apparently contain horikiri (trenches) and baileys, but the whole of the mountaintop is thickly coated in bamboo, and I could find no feasible way to take me to either ridge.

Note: This Masugatajō is in the historical Takai County, and is not to be confused with Masugatajō in the historical Minochi County (Masugata Castle (Minochi)), also in Shinano Province / Nagano Prefecture.

  • Main bailey seen from second bailey

Castle Profile
English Name Masugata Castle (Takai)
Japanese Name 高井枡形城
Alternate Names 高井山田城 Takai-Yamadajō
Founder Yamada Clan; Takanashi Takāsa
Year Founded Before 1484
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Kuruwa, Horikiri, Dorui, Koguchi, &c.
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Suzaka Station on the Nagano Line; rent bicycle from education centre opposite station; cycle to trailhead in Takayama Village
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Takayama, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 41' 34.55" N, 138° 21' 41.72" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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