Tsumagi Castle

From Jcastle.info

Tsumagi12.jpg

History

It is not known exactly when this castle was first founded, but it is estimated to have been around 1339 by the Toki clan. From the 16th century the Tsumagi clan became lords of the castle and continued to control the area for generations. At the Battle of Sekigahara, Tsumagi was the only lord in the region to side with Ieyasu. Ieyasu even wrote e letter to the Tsumagi complimenting the great castle location and design. After the Battle of Sekigahara, Tsumagi fortified the area around the base of the mountain. Since the castle at the top was too inconvenient to use for daily business it's thought that this served the primary functions of the castle. The Tsumagi continued to rule from this castle for three more generations. The last Tsumagi died suddenly without an heir so the rule of the Tsumagi clan came to an end and the castle was abandoned.


Visit Notes

This site is special because both the retainers' living area and the castle are well preserved and both registered Prefectural Historical Sites. The more extensive stonework is actually at the foot of the mountain around the residential area. The site needs more signs and maps to help us enjoy the significance of the different areas. The trail was also blocked by fallen trees I had to climb over in some places.


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Castle Profile
English Name Tsumagi Castle
Japanese Name 妻木城
Founder Toki Yorisada
Year Founded 1339
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Tajimi Sta (Chuo Line), Tsumagi Bus (#3 boarding area), 27 min to the last stop, walk 10 mins to the trailhead
Visitor Information The castle site is open any time. Mainly mountain hiking trails.
Time Required 90 mins on site
Website http://www.pref.gifu.lg.jp/kyoiku-bunka-sports/bunka-geijutsu/bunkazai-zuroku/bunkazai-zuroku/shiseki/tokisi/tumagijyou.html
Location Toki, Gifu Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 17' 31.99" N, 137° 11' 41.50" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2014
Admin Year Visited 2014
Admin Visits May 2, 2014


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ARTShogun

7 months ago
Score 0++
Updated to yellow; relocated gate in town at Souzenji Temple; added marker to photo.
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ARTShogun

8 months ago
Score 1++

Tsumagijō (Toki-shi, Tsumagi-chō)  妻木城 [土岐市妻木町]

The ruins of Tsumagi Castle can be split into two parts which are spatially and functionally distinct. Firstly, where the ruins start, was a fortified residential and administrative area at the foot of the castle mount. The ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) here are most impressive. The ishigaki terrace the hill side, forming several tiers. The site is protected in the east by a large, climbing trench, and to the west where runs a small river there is a very tall segment of ishigaki, easily the tallest ramparts at the site. I had to slip around a corner segment of ishigaki to find this area. The ground beneath the ishigaki is swampy there and full of stones.

Casual visitors may well end their tour at the residential area but yamajiro (mountaintop castle) fans will surely continue upwards! There is a trail leading from the lower site to the mountaintop site. It takes a little time climbing and there are no obvious ruins between the two sites. But the yamajiro is rewarding. It consists of three integral baileys: ichinokuruwa, ninokuruwa and sannokuruwa, and many, many sub-baileys carved into the mountainsides below and terracing the length of ridges spiraling off beneath the principal compounds.

Ishigaki is to be found between the first and second baileys, and in small clumps around the ichinokuruwa. The mountain is graced with large boulders all around. Stone blocks were likely sourced and worked on the mountain itself. There is one large rock which has bore holes worked into it in a large cross formation, ready for splitting, but it has been left there through the centuries, never to meet its destiny as part of a castle wall. For powerspotters this rock no doubt represents a vortex of mysterious energy. This rock is also not too easy to find so I'll explain it like this: the main path running through the mountain ruins goes below the first and second baileys to the third. So, coming from the back of the castle, or the carpark to the south, it is on one's left as one passes through a masugata gate complex ruin formed with dorui (earthen ramparts) and a sub-bailey directly beneath the ichinokuruwa. To the left is another sub-bailey with a mound of rammed earth which I suspect is a yaguradai (turret platform). In the ditch below here there is the mysterious rock. If one finds the ido (well) ruin, it is just beyond there. I came from the subbailey and yaguradai above, since it is visible from there, but the path which used to wind down to it is roped off. This didn't stop me but I took my safety into my own hands, and someone less sure-footed may imperil themselves so doing.

The mystery rock marks an expanded area of the castle ruin for the very enthusiastic explorer. Scrambling up the trench here one comes to a string of sub-baileys which climb the ridge, and also fork off at a point. I climbed down all the way here, following the fork which brought me to the yamajiro carpark (that's a modern addition, of course). I walked around beneath another cluster of sub-baileys near where there is now a dam and resevoir but couldn't get up here and so went back via the main path. I took the right before the gate complex which brought me all the way back around to the sannokuruwa. This path is worth taking because, even though there are fewer castle ruins here, there are many ponderous boulders arrayed (naturally) in spectacular formations - called "Hanaoka boulder giant rock group". Only the major baileys one through three and main path are maintained but Tsumagijō is fairly extensive and it would be possible to spend a long while tracing the sub-baileys up and down the mountain.

There is a structure believed to be originally from the castle which has survived to the present. This is the kayabuki (thatched roof) gate at Sōzenji, a nearby temple.
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ARTShogun

17 months ago
Score 0++
  • Added pictures of the relocated gate at nearby Souzenji.
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ARTShogun

17 months ago
Score 0++
ohh i have a gate for this one