Misaka Castle

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MisakajouA (1).jpg


Misakajō was built by the Hōjō Clan in their attempt to conquer Kai following the collapse of the Oda-backed regime in the province after the assassination of Oda Nobunaga by Akechi Mitsuhide. Hōjō Ujimasa contested Kai with Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Hōjō would soon agree to a negotiated peace, however, and retreat.

Visit Notes

Misakajō is an expansive yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin on the border of Fujikawaguchikō Township in South Tsuru County, and Misaka Township in Fuefuki Municipality. The fortress was a fortified pass with fortifications climbing up the ridge on either side of the Misaka Pass. Therefore the castle's layout could be divided between the northern and southern sections along the ridge with a middle section consisting of the pass itself integrated into the fortress. This makes Misakajō unusual in that instead of the central portion being elevated, the central area is sunken, with dual climbing portions on either side.

Misakajō is often called 'the highest mountain castle' and such. There were higher fortifications, but, at 1,600m elevation, Misakajō is the largest built at such a large scale. Ruins are primarily earthworks and include features such as kuruwa (baileys), dorui (earthen ramparts), and karabori (dry moats), including horikiri (trenches bisecting the ridge), yokobori (lateral trenches along the mountainside), and tatebori (climbing trenches).

The layout of the fortress is complex, but the slopes beneath the ridgetop baileys are protected with moats, sometimes in multiple bands. Some debate whether the castle was built by the Hōjō Clan or built before by the Takeda Clan, but for me, looking at the ruins with my own eyes, the beautifully carved moats and ramparts seemed like they could've been built by no other than the Hōjō; nobody did moats like the Hōjō!

  • Karabori (dry moat)

Castle Profile
English Name Misaka Castle
Japanese Name 御坂城
Founder Hōjō Clan
Year Founded 1582
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Kuruwa, Yokobori, Horikiri, Tatebori, Dorui, Dobashi, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Climb from Tenkachaya at south terminus of tunnel on old Misaka Pass road; along ridge head west
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 180 minutes
Location Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 33' 28.48" N, 138° 45' 52.67" E
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Added to Jcastle 2024
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Umoreta Kojō
Jōshi Meguri Bibiroku

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