Stone walls

From Jcastle.info

Stone Walls / 石垣

This is a subtype of Features

Ishigaki are one of the most impressive features of any castle. The skill it took to make them from cutting and collecting the stones to actually building the walls in a myriad of shapes, terrains, and locations, is truly remarkable. The fact that there are still so many stone walls remaining after hundreds of years attests to the skill of their builders too. You can even read the history of a castle from its ishigaki. The type of stone tells you where it came from, markings on the stones tell you who it was cut or gathered for, and the method of building the walls can also tell you in what period they were constructed or by whom. Even in the same castle, you may see walls constructed with different methods indicating who built them and when. You can also find unique stories buried in the stone walls at many castles like the old woman who donated her grinding stone or Buddhist statues that were procured from temples to fill in the walls.

Below is a description of the main styles and types of stone walls. There are also a few sub-categories and rare types not discussed here that I may put together for a future page.


Basic Structure

The pictures below are from a display at Kanazawa Castle that show how the stone walls are constructed. You can see that the stones are much longer and larger than they appear from the outside. Smaller stones are filled in between the larger stones to stabilize them. Extra stones are backfilled behind them for drainage to help prevent erosion and smaller stones are also filled into the spaces in the front to stabilize the larger stones. Note that there is no mortar used. This allows the stone walls to have some flexibility which is what has helped them to survive for hundreds of years in earthquake prone Japan.

Kanazawa217.jpg Kanazawa216.jpg Kanazawa215.jpg


Style

The style of wall indicates the pattern of how the stones are arranged. These two patterns below are used with all of the different types explained in the next section.


Ranzumi (乱積み)

The stones used are of various sizes so that there is no particular pattern to the face of the stone wall.

Kofu16.jpg Takamatsu23.jpg Takeda15.jpg


Nunozumi (布積み)

Most of the stones are roughly the same size so that they line up across the face of the wall.

Kanazawa117.jpg Matsuyama18.jpg Marugame76.jpg


Types

Stone walls can be categorized by how much the stones are processed to fit together in the wall. Walls that use unprocessed stones tend to be older, while walls that make use of more highly shaped stones are newer making use of newer techniques and tools.


Nozurazumi (野面積み)

These walls use unshaped stones. They are either stones that were used in their natural shape or were split without any further shaping. This type of wall is comparatively weak and high walls cannot be built. It also provides many footholds and handholds making it relatively easy for attackers to climb.

Kofu16.jpg Komoro15.jpg Maruoka6.jpg Marugame60.jpg


Uchikomihagi (打込接ぎ)

The stones are pounded tightly into place and the corners and rough edges are smoothed some to help them fit together better. The face of the stone is also chipped away to make it more flat. The remaining holes are filled with smaller stones to tightly fill the gaps. This makes a stronger wall than Nozurazumi and these walls can be built higher.

Edo44.jpg Osaka33.jpg Ueda15.jpg Kanazawa87b.jpg


Kirikomihagi (切込接ぎ)

In this type of wall, all the stones are heavily processed and shaped to fit exactly with the surrounding stones. There are almost no holes or empty spaces and no smaller uncut stones filling the spaces between stones. Since water cannot seep out through the spaces they often needed to build in some holes for drainage.

Edo38.jpg Kanazawa150.jpg Edo81.jpg Shirakawa11.jpg


Kikkozumi

This is basically a special type of Kirikomihagi where all the stones are cut with five or six sides and fitted together.


Tanizumi / Otoshizumi

The stones are fit together at an angle so they have a diagonal pattern instead of horizontal. It takes advantage of the weight of the stones to hold them in place. This construction was actually comparatively easy and often used in the later Edo Period.


Tamaishizumi (玉石積み)

This method uses river stones that were naturally shaped by the river to be round. The only castle I know of that makes use of this is Yokosuka Castle in Shizuoka Pref.

Yokosuka7.jpg

Castles with Stone Walls
  1. Aizu Wakamatsu Castle
  2. Akashi Castle
  3. Aki Castle
  4. Akizuki Castle
  5. Akizuki Domain South Detached Palace
  6. Ako Castle
  7. Akutagawasan Castle
  8. Amagajo
  9. Amagasaki Castle
  10. Anrakuji Yakata
  11. Aoyagi Castle
  12. Aoyagi Yakata
  13. Arato Castle
  14. Arikoyama Castle
  15. Asahiyama Castle
  16. Asama Palace
  17. Ashimori Jin'ya
  18. Aya Castle
  19. Azuchi Castle
  20. Azumi Iwahara Castle
  21. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
  22. Chiba Castle
  23. Chikuma Asaka Castle
  24. Chikuma Kakiage Castle
  25. Chikuma Koshikou Castle
  26. Chikuma Koya Castle
  27. Chimura Yashiki
  28. Chiran Castle
  29. Echi Takano Castle
  30. Echizen Katsuyama Castle
  31. Echizen Ohno Castle
  32. Edo Castle
  33. Enryakuji Higashitani Fort
  34. Fukuchiyama Castle
  35. Fukui Castle
  36. Fukuoka Castle
  37. Fukuyama Castle
  38. Funai Castle
  39. Furukawa Castle
  40. Fushimi Castle
  41. Futamata Castle
  42. Gamou Osada Castle
  43. Gamou Tsuda Castle
  44. Ganjaku Castle
  45. Ganshouin Yakata
  46. Gassan Toda Castle
  47. Gifu Castle
  48. Goryokaku Fort
  49. Gujo Hachiman Castle
  50. Hachigata Castle
  51. Hachioji Castle
  52. Haga Castle
  53. Hagi Castle
  54. Hagiwarasuwa Castle
  55. Haibara Castle
  56. Hamada Castle
  57. Hamamatsu Castle
  58. Hanakuma Castle
  59. Hanamaki Castle
  60. Hanazono Castle
  61. Hanishina Takeyama Castle
  62. Hayashikojo Castle
  63. Hayashiohjo Castle
  64. Hida Kojima Castle
  65. Hida Takayama Castle
  66. Hikobe Yashiki
  67. Hikone Castle
  68. Himeji Castle
  69. Hirado Castle
  70. Hirai Kanayama Castle
  71. Hirase Noroshidai
  72. Hirosaki Castle
  73. Hiroshima Castle
  74. Hishakuyama Castle
  75. Hitoyoshi Castle
  76. Hizen Kashima Castle
  77. Hizen Nagoya Castle
  78. Honshouji Castle
  79. Hoshigasaki Castle
  80. Houshouji Fort
  81. Hyakusaiji Castle
  82. Iba Castle
  83. Iba Palace
  84. Ibuka Castle
  85. Ichijodani Castle
  86. Ichinomiya Castle
  87. Iga Ueno Castle
  88. Iida Castle
  89. Iiyama Castle
  90. Imabari Castle
  91. Ina Nagayama Castle
  92. Ina Wada Castle
  93. Inawashiro Castle
  94. Innoshima Suigun Castle
  95. Inuyama Castle
  96. Ioyama Castle
  97. Ishigakiyama Ichiya Castle
  98. Itami Castle
  99. Itoi Jin'ya
  100. Itokazu Castle
  101. Iwaki Taira Castle
  102. Iwakuni Castle
  103. Iwamura Castle
  104. Iyo Matsuyama Castle
  105. Izuki Jin'ya
  106. Izushi Castle
  107. Joujou Castle
  108. Joukouin Yakata
  109. Jurakudai
  110. Kagikakemonomi Fort
  111. Kagoshima Castle
  112. Kakegawa Castle
  113. Kamagatake Castle
  114. Kamaha Castle
  115. Kameda Castle
  116. Kamei Castle
  117. Kameyama Battery
  118. Kameyama Castle
  119. Kaminoyama Castle
  120. Kamioka Castle
  121. Kanaiyama Castle
  122. Kanayama Castle
  123. Kanazawa Castle
  124. Kanbe Castle
  125. Kannonji Castle
  126. Kano Castle
  127. Kanzaki Ishibayama Castle
  128. Kanzaki Kakimi Castle
  129. Kanzou Yashiki
  130. Karasawayama Castle
  131. Karasuyama Castle
  132. Karatsu Castle
  133. Karidako Castle
  134. Karidaoh Castle
  135. Kasama Castle
  136. Kasumi Castle
  137. Katsumoto Castle
  138. Katsunumashi Yakata
  139. Katsuren Castle
  140. Katsuyama Castle (Tsuru)
  141. Katsuyama Palace
  142. Kawahara Castle
  143. Kawanoe Castle
  144. Kawashima Castle
  145. Kikkawa Motoharu Yakata
  146. Kinojo
  147. Kirihara Castle
  148. Kishiwada Castle
  149. Kiso Daikansho
  150. Kitanosho Castle
  151. Kitsuki Castle
  152. Kiyosu Castle
  153. Kochi Castle
  154. Kofu Castle
  155. Kokokuji Castle
  156. Kokura Castle
  157. Komaki Castle
  158. Komatsu Castle
  159. Komono Castle
  160. Komoro Castle
  161. Koori Nishiyama Castle
  162. Koraku Castle
  163. Koriyama Castle (Hiroshima)
  164. Koromo Castle
  165. Kounomine Castle
  166. Koyama Castle
  167. Kozutsumi Castle
  168. Kubota Castle
  169. Kukuri Castle
  170. Kuma Castle
  171. Kumamoto Castle
  172. Kunou Castle
  173. Kurahone Castle
  174. Kurita Kuboe Castle
  175. Kuroi Castle
  176. Kurume Castle
  177. Kushima Castle
  178. Kushizaki Castle
  179. Kutsuki Izuminokami Jin'ya
  180. Kuwana Castle
  181. Maebashi Castle
  182. Marugame Castle
  183. Maruoka Castle
  184. Masujima Castle
  185. Matsuda Yakata
  186. Matsudaira Yakata
  187. Matsue Castle
  188. Matsukura Castle
  189. Matsumae Castle
  190. Matsumoto Castle
  191. Matsuo Castle
  192. Matsusaka Castle
  193. Matsushiro Castle
  194. Mie Castle
  195. Mihara Castle
  196. Miharu Castle
  197. Mikumo Castle (Koka)
  198. Minakuchi Castle
  199. Minakuchi Okayama Castle
  200. Mino Kaneyama Castle
  201. Minowa Castle
  202. Mizuban Castle
  203. Moji Castle
  204. Morioka Castle
  205. Moriyama Castle
  206. Motosu Castle
  207. Motoyama Yakata
  208. Mukade Castle
  209. Mukaihaguroyama Castle
  210. Murakami Castle
  211. Murakami Hanagoya Castle
  212. Murakami Katsurao Castle
  213. Murakami Kemurino Castle
  214. Murakami Mochikoshi Castle
  215. Murakami Wagou Castle
  216. Musashi Tenjin'yama Castle
  217. Mutsu Kaneyama Castle
  218. Mutsu Obama Castle
  219. Naegi Castle
  220. Nagahama Castle
  221. Nagato Aoyama Castle
  222. Nagato Katsuyama Castle
  223. Nagoya Castle
  224. Najima Castle
  225. Nakagusuku Castle
  226. Nakamura Castle
  227. Nakatsu Castle
  228. Nakijin Castle
  229. Nanao Castle
  230. Natsukawa Castle
  231. Natsumichi Fort
  232. Nechi Castle
  233. Nihonmatsu Castle
  234. Niitakayama Castle
  235. Nijo Castle
  236. Nijo Castle (Tochigi)
  237. Nijoko Castle
  238. Nishio Castle
  239. Niwase Castle
  240. Nobeoka Castle
  241. Nochiseyama Castle
  242. Numata Castle
  243. Obama Castle
  244. Obaraichiba Castle
  245. Obata Jin'ya
  246. Obi Castle
  247. Oda Castle
  248. Odani Castle
  249. Odawara Castle
  250. Ogaki Castle
  251. Oguchi Castle
  252. Ogura Castle
  253. Ogurayama Castle
  254. Ogyu Castle
  255. Oh'iwa Castle
  256. Ohga Castle
  257. Ohhara Castle
  258. Ohmine Castle
  259. Ohno Fort
  260. Ohtsu Castle
  261. Ojima Jin'ya
  262. Oka Castle
  263. Okayama Castle
  264. Okazaki Castle
  265. Oko Castle
  266. Okushima Yakata
  267. Omi Hachiman Castle
  268. Omifuru Castle
  269. Omono Castle
  270. Ono Castle
  271. Oogo Castle
  272. Oomizo Castle
  273. Ori Castle
  274. Osaka Castle
  275. Oshi Castle
  276. Otaki Castle
  277. Ozu Castle
  278. Rikan Castle
  279. Rokugawa Jin'ya
  280. Saga Castle
  281. Saiki Castle
  282. Sakaki Jin'ya
  283. Sakamoto Castle
  284. Sakata Kashiwabara Castle
  285. Sakura Castle (Aichi)
  286. Sakurabora Castle
  287. Sakurasawa Fort
  288. Samegai Castle
  289. Sanada Isezaki Castle
  290. Sanada Negoya Castle
  291. Sanada Palace
  292. Sanada Yazawa Castle
  293. Sanadahonjo Castle
  294. Sannohe Castle
  295. Sano Castle
  296. Sarashina Osaka Castle
  297. Sasayama Castle
  298. Sashiki Castle
  299. Sasou Castle
  300. Seiryuin
  301. Sekiyado Castle
  302. Sendai Castle
  303. Sengoku Yakata
  304. Shibata Castle
  305. Shiga Castle
  306. Shiga Yakata
  307. Shigetsu Fushimi Castle
  308. Shigiyama Castle
  309. Shimabara Castle
  310. Shimizu Jin'ya
  311. Shimotsui Castle
  312. Shinagawa Battery Islands
  313. Shingu Castle
  314. Shioda Castle
  315. Shioda Koubouyama Fort
  316. Shiozaki Castle
  317. Shirakawa Castle
  318. Shiroishi Castle
  319. Shishiku Castle
  320. Shoryuji Castle
  321. Shou Castle
  322. Shuri Castle
  323. Shuuchi Castle
  324. Shuzan Castle
  325. Sonobe Castle
  326. Souma Nakamura Castle
  327. Sukegawakaibou Castle
  328. Sumoto Castle
  329. Sunomata Castle
  330. Sunpu Castle
  331. Suzaka Jin'ya
  332. Suzaki Battery
  333. Taguchi Castle
  334. Tahara Castle
  335. Takada Castle (Niigata)
  336. Takaino Jin'ya
  337. Takamatsu Castle
  338. Takanashi Yakata
  339. Takano Yakata
  340. Takaoka Castle
  341. Takasaki Castle
  342. Takashima Castle
  343. Takatori Castle
  344. Takatsuki Castle
  345. Takayama Castle (Hiroshima)
  346. Takayama Jin'ya
  347. Takeda Castle
  348. Takedashishugo Yakata
  349. Takenaka Jinya
  350. Takinoiri Castle
  351. Tamagusuku Castle
  352. Tamaru Castle
  353. Tanabe Castle
  354. Tanabe Castle (Wakayama)
  355. Tanba Kameyama Castle
  356. Tarui Castle
  357. Tateyama Castle (Yamagata)
  358. Tatsuno Castle
  359. Tatsuoka Castle
  360. Tawada Castle
  361. Tayasu Jin'ya
  362. Tenpaku Castle
  363. Toba Castle
  364. Tobayama Castle
  365. Toishi Castle
  366. Tokushima Castle
  367. Tomioka Castle
  368. Tottori Castle
  369. Toyama Castle
  370. Toyoda Castle
  371. Tsu Castle
  372. Tsuchiura Castle
  373. Tsukikuma Castle
  374. Tsukui Castle
  375. Tsumagi Castle
  376. Tsutsuhata Castle II
  377. Tsutsuhata Castle III
  378. Tsutsuhata Castle IV
  379. Tsutsuhata Castle V
  380. Tsutsujigasaki Palace
  381. Tsuwano Castle
  382. Tsuyama Castle
  383. Uda Matsuyama Castle
  384. Ueda Castle
  385. Ueno Yashiki
  386. Urado Castle
  387. Urasoe Castle
  388. Usayama Castle
  389. Usuki Castle
  390. Uwajima Castle
  391. Wakayama Castle
  392. Washio Castle
  393. Yagi Castle
  394. Yagi Castle (Tanba)
  395. Yamabe Castle
  396. Yamabukioh Castle
  397. Yamagata Castle
  398. Yamaguchi Castle
  399. Yamaguchi Yashiki
  400. Yamato Koriyama Castle
  401. Yamazaki Castle
  402. Yanagawa Castle
  403. Yashima Castle
  404. Yashiro Castle
  405. Yatsushiro Castle
  406. Yatsushiro Yashiki
  407. Yodo Castle
  408. Yogaisan Castle
  409. Yokosuka Castle
  410. Yonago Castle
  411. Yoshida Castle
  412. Yumurayama Castle
  413. Zakimi Castle
  414. Zeze Castle
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