Matsuida Castle




Matsuida Castle is said to have been established between 1558-1570, but the castle history starts with an older castle named Suwa Castle built on this site by the Suwa clan. In 1561, Takeda Shingen unsuccessfully attacked the Annaka clan at Suwa Castle. The Takeda would again be repelled in February of 1562. In September of the same year Takeda skipped over Suwa Castle (Matsuida Castle), defeated the Annaka at Annaka Castle and effectively absorbed the Annaka lands. From this time, the place name of Suwa is replaced by Matsuida. Matsuida Castle (Suwa Castle), the last holdout of the Annaka, is finally defeated by Takeda Shingen in 1564 and Annaka Tadamasa takes his own life.

After the defeat of the Takeda clan, the region was put under the control of Nobunaga's lieutenant Takigawa Kazumasa. The Hojo took advantage of the confusion caused by Nobunaga's death in 1582 and took the castle form Takigawa. Daidoji Masashige completely renovated the castle for the Hojo and fortified it as an important defense along the border with the Shinano province. The castle remains you see today are from this time period. In the 1590 Siege of Odawara, Matsuida Castle was besieged by the forces of Maeda Toshiie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, and Sanada Masayuki for over a month before Daidoji Masashige capitulated to Maeda Toshiie. The castle was then abandoned.

Visit Notes

This was a really great site to visit. It's a lot of fun to walk the trails up and down the ridges and there are a lot of very well preserved earthworks. it's a shame my photos don't do the site justice. The highlights include the "S Shaped Trench" and a series of several trenches right after one another on the west side. There are a lot of good signs pointing out various features which is rare for a mountaintop castle, but they're also important because the structure is somewhat difficult to comprehend when you're actually there. There is a volunteer organization that takes good care of the site.

The castle is heavily overgrown so you'll want to go in winter or early spring when there's no snow. There are also signs warning of bears so that's another good reason to visit while they're hibernating. There are 2 main routes into the castle. The north side of the mountain ridge has some parking spaces and you can walk up the Main route into the castle. The main entrance has the castle map and it's much easier to understand the castle structure if you start from here. If you're walking from the station though, you should probably take the trail that starts from along the highway. That's only about a 15 min walk from the station and will easily save you 30 minutes walking and a lot of energy.
松井田城を歩き回るのが楽しかったです。ボランティア団体のおかげで、みちの 標識や案内版が山城にしては以外に充実しています。現地では松井田城はちょっとわかりにくい構造なのでとても助かります。松井田城のハイライトはS型空堀と連続空堀だったと思います。この城は藪も多いので雪がない冬と春に登城するのがおすすめです。ハイキング靴とトレッキング杖も必須でしょう。電車で訪れる場合は山の裏の大手道ではなくバイパスからの登山口から登った方が時間と体力の節約になります。以下の写真を見て、バイパスからの登山口を確かめてください。

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  • Otemon Gate
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Yokobori trench around the Honmaru Bailey
  • Horikiri trench
  • Small bailey on one of the northern ridges
  • Horikiri trench
  • Tatebori Trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Road to the Otemon Gate. You can see that the small bailey to the left could have had a guardhouse or gate.
  • Horikiri trench
  • Embankment around the Ninomaru Bailey
  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • Route from the Ninomaru to the consecutive trenches. Dangerous slope!
  • Looking back up to the Ninomaru
  • First of several consecutive trenches
  • Among the consecutive trenches
  • Consecutive trenches
  • Umadashi between the Honmaru and Ninomaru Baileys
  • Large trench before the Honmaru bailey
  • Large trench
  • Watchtower foundation near the Honmaru Bailey
  • Honmaru Bailey
  • Small shrine in the Honmaru Bailey
  • Annaka Bailey, the likely main bailey of Annaka Tadamasa's original castle
  • Tatebori Trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • The Second Annaka Bailey, the likely Ninomaru of Annaka Tadamasa's castle
  • Koshiguruwa, side baileys off the main site
  • "S" Shaped Trench
  • "S" Shaped Trench, you can see the first turn here
  • "S" Shaped Trench, you can see the second turn ahead
  • Trench
  • This is where the S Trench meets up with a Tatebori trench
  • The trail from the highway. This is recommended if you walk form the station.
  • View of the mountain from the station
  • Map
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Matsuida Castle
Japanese Name 松井田城
Alternate Names Kasumiga-jo, Suwa-jo
Founder Annaka Tadamasa
Year Founded 1558
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nishi Matsuida Sta. (Shin'etsu Line), 15 min walk to trailhead along the highway; 40 mins walk to the Otemichi Trailhead
Visitor Information Mountain, open any time
Time Required 150 mins
Location Annaka, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 19' 21.36" N, 138° 47' 32.86" E
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Added to Jcastle 2018
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2018
Admin Visits March 11, 2018

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12 months ago
Score 0++

09/05/2023. When I finished my tour of Gokan castle, I called the taxi company and the dispatcher recognised me immediately. I went to Matsuida castle with this taxi. When I was preparing my journey, I thougt first to return to Isobe station and getting off at Nishimatsuida station. I realised that the distance is +/-1km more to Matsuida castle from Gokan castle. The ride costs 2580¥, and so I won precious time to visit this vast yamashiro. At arriving at the parking lot, there was a small shed. It was closed and nobody was present. I opened one of the windows and there were several boxes containing precious maps and a pamphlet of the castle. The maps came in handy. Walking staffs are also available. I took one and I was glad I did. The site is overgrown but very well signposted. I did most of the trail, but when I saw a sign indicating bears, I called it a day. I have bear bells with me, but I don't want to disturb these animals. And I don't want to take a picture of a bear charging me...

I think that I covered about 85% of the site. I took the trail, which Eric Obershaw tells to begin with, to end my visit. I then went to Hoda temple. During the Sengoku period, there were the dwellings of the lord of the castle.