Sekinomori Castle




Sekinomori Castle is built upon the older Shirakawa no Seki site. In the Nara period three important barrier gates were set up in Ōshū at the edge of Yamato territory in order to protect and provide provision for the expanding dominion of the early Japanese state. At that time Tōhoku, the northeast of Honshū, was peopled by the Emishi, who the Yamato considered barbarians (and indeed whose level of civilisation was vastly below that of the descendents of Wa). The site was in use throughout the 7th and 8th centuries and the archaeological remains of pit-homes were unearthed here in the 1950s and 60s. Sekinomori Castle was later built on the site in the late Sengoku period by allies of the Uesugi Clan to watch over nearby transport routes. The earthworks we see today date to this time. The first person to rediscover the site was the lord of Shirakawa Domain, Matsudaira Sadanobu, who surveyed the area and recognised it as the barrier-gate of antiquity. He erected a stone marker in 1808 which still stands today.

Visit Notes

Earthworks, such as baileys, karabori (dry moats), dobashi (earthen bridges) and dorui (earthen embankments), can be easily identified, and the site is now the location of Shirakawa Shrine. Nearby is a park with traditional architecture. An Edo Period style checkpoint guardhouse has been built here.

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  • dorui, karabori
  • Edo Period Reconstructed guardhouse at chekpoint

Castle Profile
English Name Sekinomori Castle
Japanese Name 関ノ森城
Alternate Names Shirakawa no Seki
Year Founded Late Sengoku Period
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Shirakawa Station on the Tohoku Main Line; 20 minute drive / by taxi
Visitor Information Free, 24/7
Time Required 60 mins
Location Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture
Coordinates 37° 2' 48.80" N, 140° 13' 46.02" E
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Added to Jcastle 2018
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki

(2 votes)
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40 months ago
Score 0++
Updated to yellow; reconstructed guard house. There is conflation with this site and the checkpoint site used from the Heian through to Edo periods.