For more information see Aida Kokuzousan Castle.
Utsutsujō is one of the outer fortifications of the complex of fort sites which make up the Aida-jōkangun, centred around Aida-Kokuzōsanjō. It is located down the ridge to the west of the other forts, and is much less visited and maintained than the other sites. I had to pass over a piece of barbed wire hidden in coloured tape. I don’t think the barbed wire was deliberately concealed, it had just gotten tangled up, but I read online that someone cut their hand on it, so I’m glad I noticed and didn’t touch the tape. There was also a mock closed-circuit television system set up, with a camera attached to a tree. That’s a lot of effort to stop mushroom thieves, but I don’t think any determined mushroom pilferer would be deterred. The mushroom season was over and there is a lot of evidence that I’m addicted to castling, so I don’t think I’ll ever be mistaken for a mushroom thief. But I’ll confine my rambling to mountains and not words! Although there is a trail, the castle ruins are generally overgrown.
Utsutsujō is a single bailey fort complex with the main and only bailey (arguably, but opinions differ on how much of the ridge was fortified) protect fore and aft with horikiri (trenches) and tatebori (climbing trenches). The main bailey is split into two parts by a small terrace. The rear to the main bailey was probably a horikiri which bisected the ridge, but looks like it has been partially filled in. The tatebori section remains and can be seen to the right when entering the bailey space. It’s possible there was also a dobashi (earthen bridge), however. The forward horikiri is well preserved, even though it is full of the clutter of fallen trees and hard to move in, and is actually one of the more impressive examples of horikiri found on Mount Kokuzō (the other large one at Nakanojinjō having been partially filled in).
See also Nakanojin Castle.
|English Name||Utsutsu Castle|
|Year Founded||Kamakura Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Horikiri, Dorui, Kuruwa, Tatebori|
|Access||Bus from Matsumoto Station|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||40 minutes|
|Location||Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 21' 51.84" N, 137° 59' 57.08" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2023|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|