Suwa Owa Castle
The hamlets of Takagi and Owa were controlled by the Kanasashi Clan of the Lower Shrine (now called Suwa-taisha). These hamlets were controlled by the Takagi Clan and Owa Clan respectively, and they built their castles to protect their lands. Owajō was particularly important in defending Shimo-Suwa as it opposed the Upper Shrine's stronghold of (old) Takashimajō.
The ruins of Owajō were fun to inspect, being fairly intact. The trail starts before a small dam, and then follows a ridge up past a small shrine. Owajō consists of a single main bailey, the shukuruwa, but is surrounded below by many koshikuruwa (sub-baileys) which stretch around the main bailey in a ring, tapering off toward the castle’s rear. The shukuruwa is surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts), which, as expected in this region, are piled up the highest at the bailey’s rear. Beyond this point several horikiri (trenches) were dug into the mountain ridge to protect the castle’s rearside. Remnants of stone-pilings (sekirui) are to be found throughout the site, and particularly around the shukuruwa there are lots of stone blocks to be found, although the largest remaining piling is found beneath one of the terraced koshikuruwa. As with at Takagijō, there are ishigaki remains at the foot of the mountain, but these were likely for terraced fields in the Edo Period.
|English Name||Suwa Owa Castle|
|Year Founded||15th Century|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Dorui, Hori, Kuruwa|
|Access||Shimo-Suwa Station on the Chuo Line; 35 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||30 minutes|
|Location||Shimo-Suwa, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 3' 54.47" N, 138° 6' 53.68" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|