Mayamahigashijō is thought to have been a branch fortification or else the kyokan (residential area) of Mayamanishijō, which is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle). Together they form a set. The terrain is quite level whilst being on high ground in the Mayama foothills, and so it's easy to imagine this as the kyokan site for Mayamanishijō. Mayamahigashijō is thought to have been used by the Obata Clan, and owned by Obata Norishige, lord of Kuniminejō. It was caught up in the contest to control western Kōzuke between the Kantō-kanryō, the Uesugi Clan governors of the Kantō region, and the Takeda Clan of neighbouring Kai Province.
Mayamahigashijō is twinned with Mayamanishijō but I was not able to visit the latter as I could find no way to easily get up the mountain (I judged it wasn't one to visit in summer, but one could probably climb up from the back of the field south of Beisanji). Mayamahigashijō, however, is now the site of a temple surrounded by fields, and accessible by car. The temple, Beisanji, has stone walls, but, though piled in handsome fashion, these are not remains of the castle. Only the terrain can be discerned now, but there is a 'tongue-shaped plateau' of earth beneath the temple which is now put to plough, and this would've made an ideal bailey space for the old castle. Thereafter the ridge gradually descends and is terraced along its length, and likely these terraces formed a staircase-like array of defences for the castle from the bottom-up. This method of creating steep terraces is called kirigishi, and kirigishi and kuruwa, baileys formed from flattened earth, represent the only ruins of Mayamahigashijō. It is thought that dry moats may have divvied up the castle area but that these were filled in for farmland afterward. Atop of the stone retaining walls of the temple there is a marker for the castle.
|Pre Edo Period
|Sendaira Station on the Jōshin Line; 18 minute walk
|24/7 free; fields
|Shimonita, Gunma Prefecture
|36° 13' 24.35" N, 138° 48' 15.26" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited
|Friends of JCastle