Suda Castle


Sudajou (3).JPG


Sudajō was the castle of the Suda Clan, a branch of the Inōe Clan of Inōejō (Inoue Castle). The clan has its origins in the Kamakura period but Sudajō is thought to have first been built in the Muromachi period. During the Nanbokuchō period the clan fought for the Southern Court. The Suda had their most powerful stronghold, Ôiwajō (Oh'iwa Castle), in Ôiwa-gō ('gō' refers to a 'township' or collection of villages), which they had expanded into, but their main base was Sudajō in Suda-gō which was important for controlling trade along the Chikuma River from the eastern bank. In the Sengoku period the clan split into two factions in response to Takeda Shingen's push into Shinano. Sudajō's faction under Suda Nobuyori sided with Takeda Shingen whilst the Ôiwa half of the clan under Suda Michichika remained under the vassalge of the Murakami Clan, siding with Uesugi Kenshin. Under the reign of Takeda Shingen, Suda Nobuyori's son, Suda Nobumasa, built a new (flatland) base at Fukujimajō (Fukujima Castle (Takai)) closer to the Chikuma River, which may have sidelined Sudajō, though nothing remains of Fukujimajō now. Uesugi Kagekatsu repossessed northern Shinano following the death of (Takeda Katsuyori and) Oda Nobunaga in 1582. In 1584 Fukujimajō was attacked by the Shimazu Clan from Naganumajō and fell. Suda Nobumasa committed seppuku, ending the Suda-gō faction of the Suda Clan. A victorious Uesugi Kagekatsu placed his various vassals who had fled from northern Shinano back in charge of their domains, and Suda Michichika took over leadership of the remaining Suda, his main base at Kaiźujō (now Matsushirojō). Sudajō was abandoned in 1598 following the relocation by Toyotomi Hideyoshi of Uesugi Kagekatsu to Aiźu-Wakamatsujō.

See also: Matsushiro Castle, Zenkaizu Castle, Suzaka Jin'ya, Suda Yakata

Visit Notes

My initial plan in visiting Sudajō was to visit several yamajiro in the municipality of which Sudajō was the most accessible on its own little hill. But I got a very severe puncture which popped by bicyclette tire like a party balloon. Luckily Sudajō, in Garyū Park, is not far from the train station. The castle ruins are maintained as part of the park. Features include kuruwa (baileys), some dorui (earthen ramparts), tatebori (climbing moats), horikiri (trenches) and other earthworks, most notably a masugata (angled) gate complex. The entrance to the castle area from the eastern ridge is a horikiri, but now there is a modern bridge spanning it, and the lower eastern baileys of the castle are used as a cemetery. The eastern bailey beneath the main bailey is now the site of the mausoleum of Lord Hori of the Suzaka Jin'ya, and various Hori Clan graves now occupy the site of the castle of the lords which came before them, the Suda Clan.

  • Koguchi Masugata Gate Complex Ruins; Dorui

Castle Profile
English Name Suda Castle
Japanese Name 須田城
Founder Suda Clan
Year Founded Muromachi Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Masugata, Tatebori, Horikiri, Kuruwa, Dorui, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Suzaka Station on the Nagano Line; 20 minute walk to Garyū Park
Visitor Information 24/7 free; park
Time Required 40 minutes
Location Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 38' 29.69" N, 138° 18' 46.55" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Oshiro Tabi Nikki
Shingen Travel

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