Tounohara Castle




The Tōhara Clan were a branch of the Unno Clan. In the Kamakura Period they relocated from eastern Shinano to the Chikuma area and ruled Kawate-gō. Tōnoharajō was built as the clan's main base. In 1553 the Tōhara surrendered the castle to Takeda Shingen. In 1582 the Takeda Clan was destroyed and their lands in Nagano were split between the Uesugi Clan (coming from the north) and a resurgent Ogasawara Clan (coming from the south). The lords of Tōnoharajō conspired with the Furumaya of Koiwatake Castle and the Akazawa of Inakurajō to work with the Uesugi against the Ogasawara.In 1583 the Tōhara Clan were lured to Matsumoto Castle by Ogasawara Sadayoshi and murdered. At this time Tōnoharajō was attacked and burnt to the ground.

Visit Notes

Starting at Akashina Station, the hike up from Unryūji, actually the Tōhara Clan's bodaiji (clan temple), was easier than I expected, and the snow helped make the leaves on the path less slippery, but it had the downside of melting on me. The snow was still powdering the castle ruins and the scenery was misty beautiful. Tōnoharajō is an interesting yamajiro (mountaintop castle) site with well defined earthworks. Stones are scattered about suggesting the use of ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts).


Castle Profile
English Name Tounohara Castle
Japanese Name 塔ノ原城
Founder Tōhara Clan
Year Founded Kamakura Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui, Kuruwa, Horikiri, Koshikuruwa, Dobashi
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Akashina Station on the Shinonoi Line; 15 minute walk to trail head behind Unryuuji
Visitor Information Free; 24/7; Mountain
Time Required 50 minutes
Location Azumino, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 20' 49.52" N, 137° 56' 5.21" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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