Shinpu Castle




Takeda Katsuyori built Shinpu Castle in order to increase the defenses of his territory under the continuous threat posed by Nobunaga and Tokugawa forces in the area. The area where Shinpu Castle is located was the most central location of all their lands at the time and Katsuyori envisioned creating a new castle town such that he even ordered his retainers to move their homes here. It is ironic that his plans may have actually weakened his overall defensive position and quickened the fall of the Takeda clan. After suffering a terrible defeat to Nobunaga forces at Suwa, Takeda Katsuyori's forces retreated back to Shinpu Castle. By this time his forces had dwindled from over 20,000 to a mere 3,000 men. On March 3, 1582 Katsuyori set fire to Shinpu Castle and fled with his remaining 300-400 men. By March 11, all of the remaining Takeda forces had been destroyed and the days of the Takeda clan came to an end.

Visit Notes

This is a great site to visit. Most people will go straight to the Honmaru from the steep stairs next to the sign, but I would recommend taking the side path off to the left. Then you'll enter the castle the proper way via the Otemon, Sannomaru, and Ninomaru before getting to the Honmaru. There are also some embankments and ruins along the North side of the mountain that I've missed twice now.

I would recommend you wait until after the leaves have fallen in the late autumn or early spring after the snow melts to visit this castle. Even in October the weeds and bugs were horrible. The Ninomaru and Sannnomaru are nearly impossible to get into and it's hard to see many of the embankments and castle structures.

This was probably the first "ruins only, not even stone walls" castle I ever visited (Nov 2003). I was probably hooked on mountaintop castle ruins from here so it always holds a special place to me. I've been here twice now (14 years apart) and still missed things so I'll need to go back again.

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  • Otemon Gate
  • Typical entrance to the Honmaru but go by the path to the left.
  • Obikuruwa Bailey
  • Obikuruwa
  • First masugata box gate of the Otemon Gate.
  • Map of the main gate
  • First masugata you encounter
  • Mikazuki Trench
  • Masugata gate of the Otemon gate
  • Masugata gate entrance
  • Looking from the corner of the masugata to the umadashi
  • Small bailey that overlooks the Otemon Gate
  • Sannomaru Bailey
  • Umadashi Bailey
  • Ninomaru Bailey entrance
  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • Ninomaru Bailey
  • View from the Honmaru Bailey
  • Honmaru Bailey
  • Honmaru Bailey
  • Remains of a water moat and retaining walls
  • Inari Bailey
  • Big spider. These are everywhere in the summer.
  • Map
  • Map
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Shinpu Castle
Japanese Name 新府城
Founder Takeda Katsuyori
Year Founded 1581
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Shinpu Station (Chuo Line), 15 minute walk
Visitor Information park open any time
Time Required 90 mins
Website id=101
Location Nirasaki, Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 44' 7.84" N, 138° 25' 29.39" E
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Added to Jcastle 2003
Contributor Eric
Admin Year Visited 2003, 2017
Admin Visits November 15, 2003; October 9, 2017

(5 votes)
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54 months ago
Score 1++

The ruins of Shinpu Castle are an ideal site for those castle fans new to yamajiro (mountain castle) exploration because its features are easy to identify. The ruins begin with a wide (formerly water-filled) moat perforated with large retaining embankments. Crossing this, one comes to a steep set of steps leading to a shrine. There is a big signboard for the castle here with a useful map.

I climbed to the grand red torii and then struck left to follow a long obikuruwa (ring bailey) around to the ôtemon (main gate) area. A somewhat curvilinear umadashi (barbican) formation is evident here with ramparts and a dry moat below. The ôtemon's dorui (earthen ramparts) are tall and impressive. The obikuruwa continues to wrap around beneath the main trail so look out for it.

I continued onto the sannomaru (third bailey). The sannomaru is divided east and west by a trench, but the whole area is rather overgrown so I wasn't able to see this interesting configuration. The ninomaru (second bailey) is better maintained and I was able to inspect it with ease. There is another umadashi on the left here.

Lastly there is the spacious honmaru (main bailey) surrounded by dorui. Having leisurely explored the whole site, I effortlessly plunged down the shrine's steep causeway to exit. The surrounding countryside offers a great view of Mt. Fuji.


54 months ago
Score 1++
This is a great site for yamajiro beginners !