Mikka Castle (Minochi)
Mikkajō was a satellite fortification of Motodoriyamajō built in or after 1547 by Uesugi forces. Mikkajō is referred to as a jinshiro, a temporary fort for during a battle, and so this fort was presumably built for overseeing the Kawanakajima battles which took place in the basin to the south. In the 'Kenshin' school of warcraft, 'jinshiro' refers to taking up a fortified position on a mount, according to Kotobank (Japanese glossary website). See Motodoriyama Castle for more information.
Mikkajō is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in Toyono Township, Nagano Municipality. The ruins feature dorui (earthen ramparts), karabori (dry moats), tatebori (climbing trenches) and kuruwa (baileys). The main bailey is divided into two enclosures and surrounded by dorui. The most prominent remains are the karabori which surround the main bailey in an 'L'-shape - with the other two sides facing the steep mountainside. The karabori terminates in a tatebori. There is another tatebori leading up to a small bulwark of earth which was used as a look-out platform beneath the main bailey.
There are some outer baileys without dorui. Here there is a big azumaya (gazebo-like structure), and at first I wondered, because it is a standing structure accessed by a ladder, if it wasn't meant to be some sort of reconstructed watchtower for the castle, but it doesn't really look like it. Apparently the ruins were used as a camp ground for local children, but the site was abandoned when bears kept showing up.
To access this site now there's not even a trail, and so I followed a road up to a wier and then climbed up the mountain side on all fours when I got to the portion beneath the castle. I descended from the rear ridge which was slightly less steep.
Note: It seems many castles have this name, 'Mikka'. This one is in historical Minochi County, Shinano Province. The reason for the commonality of the name is that there are lots of place names in Japan with the formula: <number> + 'day (日)', because it refers to market towns which would do their trading primarily on that day in a given month. So the meaning is '3rd day (market)', and castles are called for their location, so.
|English Name||Mikka Castle (Minochi)|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Karabori, Tatebori, Kuruwa, &c.|
|Access||Toyono Station on the Kita-Shinano Line; 30 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Nagano, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 42' 41.26" N, 138° 15' 28.44" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2023|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|