Takeijō is a Late Sengoku Period site used by the Mimura Clan as their main base. Other ruins nearby suggest a network of fortifications. The castle is said to have been founded in the Late Kamakura Period but the nawabari (layout) dates to the end of the Sengoku Period, and is an exemplar of mountain castles built at that time due to its many defensive features. In the main bailey, stones from river beds and what was possibly ballast have been uncovered but there was no ishigaki (stone ramparts), and no buildings remain. However, at the foot of the castle a Kabukimon has been reconstructed. From there a winding path leads up to the castle ruins.
I was very happy with Takeijō. For a small site there are a variety of different features and ruins. Whilst some parts were difficult to access, most of the ruin was well sign-posted with information (only Japanese). Takeijō features three integral baileys: ninokuruwa (Second Bailey), sannokuruwa (Third Bailey), and shukuruwa (Lord’s Bailey), and sub-baileys, called koshi-kuruwa (hip baileys) and obi-kuruwa (ring bailey). The obi-kuruwa is particularly fun because it starts at the foot of the shukuruwa and wraps near all the way around it before ascending to the entrance of the main bailey. Trenches include tatebori (climbing moats), which streak the mountain as though a giant comb was scraped down it, yokobori (side moats), horikiri (trenches which cut through the mountain ridges to create redoubts), and nijūhorikiri (double trenches), which I also call twin trenches.The castle ruin is situated on the slope of a mountain. The entire hillside is surrounded by an electrified fence to prevent wild animals from entering the village of Asahi (an on-going problem for the locals apparently because there are also remains of boar pits and other defences in the village). The fence behind the kabukimon, which marks the entrance to the castle, is intimidating, but can be unlocked and entered. Luckily I had my gloves on to open the lock because it was spitting sparks due to the electrification. And so the castle is well-defended even today! On even ground at the foot of the mountain / castle is a park area with a tea house called Wadōan.
|Prefectural Historic Site
|Pre Edo Period
|Kuruwa (Shukuruwa, ninokuruwa, sannokuruwa, obi-kuruwa, koshi-guruwa), Horikiri, Dorui, Kabukimon, Tatebori, Yokobori
|Alpico Bus Service to Asahi Village from Hirooka Station on the Shinanoi Line
|Asahi, Nagano Prefecture
|36° 7' 1.24" N, 137° 52' 52.39" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited