Misayama Castle

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Misayama Castle was used as a branch fort of Ibuka Castle and / or Shinagura Castle by the Akazawa Clan to guard the Misayama Pass. Misayama is located at the mouth of a valley which, curling around, opens up to the plain of Matsumoto, and so it is was a strategic site. The castle is referenced in the Shinputōki (1724) as the "Old Castle Site on Misayama", located 24 kan to the northeast from Misayama Village, though by then it was merely ruins and contemporary references have yet to be found, meaning Misayamajō's history is mostly speculative.

Visit Notes

Misayamajō is a small yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin. It's basic layout is readily apparent to those with a trained eye. Firstly, approaching upward from the ridge, there is a forward horikiri (trench) complex with dorui (earthen ramparts) on either side. Beyond, surrounded by a narrow obikuruwa (belt bailey), is the shukuruwa (main bailey) with dorui surrounding most of it (the southern portion may have collapsed or subsided at some point into the obikuruwa). To the rear of the shukuruwa are four horikiri perforating the ridge with some minor baileys in between. When one reaches the pylon then this is the end of the ruins. The ruins mostly follow the ridge but there may be some off-shoots to the south (where I didn't venture). Features of this site are principally earthworks. Some ishigaki (piled stone walls) can be found on the mountainside below but this appears to have been used for terracing for agricultural purposes - probably mulberry plantations - well after the castle was abandoned.

Misayamajō, is also referred to as Misayama-toride. Sometimes the reading is given as "Sansaiyamajō", but is that because non-locals don't know otherwise? I - along with other sources - have elected to use "Misayama" because that is the name of the village below. Although it is thought that the castle was a branch fortification of nearby Akazawa Clan castles, Misayamajō had a kyokan (residential area) at the foot of the mountain, referred to as the Kobinata-Ôyashiki (Kobinata Oh'yashiki).

Misayamajō, situated at a relative height of over 300m, is not recommended for novice climbers. I climbed up the steep mountainside which included bare rockface. I descended via the long ridge which is like a runway to the castle, but even this terminates in a steep area without a trail. A fence surrounds the mountain to deter animals from entering the village. The area to start from is the path to the east of the Yakushidō (Medicine Buddha Hall).

  • Shukuruwa (Main Bailey), Dorui

Castle Profile
English Name Misayama Castle
Japanese Name 三才山城
Alternate Names Misayama-toride 三才山砦
Founder Akazawa Clan
Year Founded 1335 (traditional)
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Dobashi, Hori, Tatebori, Obikuruwa, Shukuruwa, Kuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access The nearest stations are Tazawa Station and Kita-Matsumoto Station on the Shinonoi Line. Public transport is not practical. I cycled (uphill) from Matsumoto.
Visitor Information Free; 24/7; Mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 17' 10.07" N, 138° 0' 58.43" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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