Sanadahonjo Castle




It's often said the castle was built around 1532-1555 by Sanada Yukitaka but evidence shows that the castle has been around since the Kamakura Period, before the Sanada clan came to power. The castle was taken by Murakami Yoshikiyo in 1541 but it was taken back by Sanada Yoshitaka in 1551. The combination of Sanadashikan and Sanadahonjo Castle makes this a fortified palace and mountaintop castle combination the likes of which we often see in the Sengoku Period. Sanadahonjo Castle was the center of the Sanada clan until they moved to Ueda Castle in 1583. Near the foot of the mountain is the Sanada clan's palace, Sandashikan.

Visit Notes

This is a fairly small castle site, but I think the structure is really interesting. It is situated on a long narrow ridge that sticks out into the plain with steep drop-offs on three sides. The site has great views of the entire Sanada Township, the nearby castles and the Joshu highway that runs in front of the castle. It would have been a perfect location to watch over and direct any battle to take place in the valley.

There is a parking lot right at the entrance so you can drive to the top without hiking if you have a car. You can also rent an electric bicycle at the Yukimura Yume Kobo that will allow you to easily bike up the road as well as visit nearby Sanada related historic sites.

If you don't have a car the best way to get around the Sanada historic sites in the Sanada Township area is by electric bicycle. Electric bicycles can be borrowed for free at the Yukimura Yume Kobo. This tourist information center also has all the maps and other information you'll need. I highly recommend stopping here before exploring the area. During the peak tourism season there is also a local tourist bus that circles through all the major historic sites you're likely to see. If there is something not on this route, then try a bicycle too.


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  • Main entrance
  • Baileys and horikiri
  • Baileys and horikiri
  • This mountain is Tenpaku Castle
  • Baileys back toward the entrance and parking lot
  • main bailey embankment
  • Entrance to the main bailey
  • Entrance to the main bailey
  • Earthen embankment of the main bailey
  • Main bailey
  • Embankment of the main bailey
  • Main bailey
  • Second bailey
  • Earthen embankment of the second bailey
  • View from the second bailey
  • Second bailey
  • Second bailey
  • Stone wall remains
  • Second bailey
  • Trench between the second and third baileys
  • Third bailey
  • Map
  • Map of Sanadahonjo and nearby castles

Castle Profile
English Name Sanadahonjo Castle
Japanese Name 真田本城
Alternate Names Matsuo-jo, Sanadashihonjo, Sanadayamajiro, Matsuoshinjo
Founder Sanada Yukitaka
Year Founded 1532-1555
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Ueda Sta. (Shinano Railway, Nagano Bullet train), 25 minute bus to Yukimuranosato bus stop (Sugadaira bus from #3 bus stop at Ueda Sta), 45 min walk from bus stop
Visitor Information Park is open any time.
Time Required 60 mins
Location Ueda, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 26' 28.97" N, 138° 19' 22.58" E
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Added to Jcastle 2016
Admin Year Visited 2015
Admin Visits December 14, 2015

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13 months ago
Score 0++

11/05/2023. From Ueda station I took a bus from bus stop 3, bound for Sagudaira. I descended in front of the Yukimura yumekobo. The ride was 25min long for 300¥. The Yukimura yumekobo is an information centre and shop related to the Sanada family. You may rent a bicycle for free and they give you a map with the distances between each road or site. From there I went first to the history musem of the Sanada. There is a nice collection, but you're not allowed to take pictures. At the entrance, I told the lady that a friend of me is a big fan of Yukimura. After telling that, she gave me more pamphlets. I received them in double, one for me and one for my friend. I told her that, like in Komoro yesterday, the suneate of one armor on display, were mixed(left on right). She told me that they were in this position since 6 years and that nobody said anything about it. She was very grateful for the information. Next to the museum lays the ruins of the Sanada yakata(fortified manor). It is now a lovely park and is known for the azaleas, which were in bloom. Of the yakata there are only some dorui(earthen ramparts) still well identifiable.

Then I rode to Sanadahonjō, which was the castle related to the aforementioned yakata. The Sanada used this castle until they built Ueda castle.