Senowaki Castle


Senowakijou (3).jpg


Senowakijō was one of the bases, along with neighbouring Gentairijō, of the Nirei-shū, a group of fifty local samurai who were granted 500 kanbun worth of land in the valley by Suda Sunaisuke. Takeda Shingen would soon conquer the territory. When the Takeda were destroyed in 1582, the Uesugi reclaimed northern Shinano, and Naoe Kanetsugu, a vassal of Uesugi Kagekatsu, took over the area, allowing a small group of samurai called the 'Seventeen Knights of Shinshū' who had resisted the interregnum of Mori Nagayoshi, to settle the area. Of which, the Ôba Clan established themselves at Gentairijō and neighbouring Senowakijō. At this time the castellan of Senowakijō was Ôba Kakubē. Senowakijō's kyokan (residential area) is thought to have been to the north where the temple is today.

Visit Notes

Senowakijō, written multiple ways and also called 'Shiroyamajō', is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in Nirei Village, Suzaka Municipality. Its structure is made up of a series of baileys and trenches carved into a steep ridge. Features include dorui (earthen ramparts), kuruwa (baileys), and horikiri (trenches). The terraces toward the ridge terminus are quite steep and appear as giant stairs leading to the castle proper. The highlights are the deep horikiri.

The rear bailey is flattened beneath the climbing ridge as a terrace without any trench behind it, which is quite unusual as any attacker coming from the above ridge would be able to drop down into the final bailey. Maybe the castle was unfinished, or it was intended only as a place to withdraw to when defending the plain to below, and the fort was not expected to survive a prolonged siege in which it was surrounded. Though small, Senowakijō was sturdily built.

  • Karabori (dry moat)

Castle Profile
English Name Senowaki Castle
Japanese Name 背之脇城
Alternate Names 瀬之脇城・城山城
Founder Nirei-shū; Ôba Clan
Year Founded 16th Century
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Horikiri, Kuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Suzaka Station on Nagano Line; rental bicyle
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 40 minutes
Location Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 36' 10.94" N, 138° 20' 6.97" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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