Yamabukiyama Noroshidai

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The Yamabukiyama-noroshidai was used as a fortified signal tower by the Kiso Clan during medieval times. Yamabukiyama-noroshidai was one in a network of these signal forts used to relay warnings of enemy attack speedily throughout the valley to Kiso-Fukushima, the site of the Kiso Clan's main base. According to folklore, in 1389 Kiso Nobumichi, a descedant of Kiso Yoshinaka, originated the Rapposho Festival in which a torchlit procession of village children travels to the top of Yamabukiyama whilst singing the Rapposho song to venerate Kiso Yoshinaka.

Visit Notes

Every August 14th the Rapposho Festival in commemoration of Kiso Yoshinaka takes place in Miyanokoshi. Villagers gather and children lead a torch-lit procession from Tokuon Temple to the top of Mount Yamabuki where there is a cleared space high up on the mountainside. Here the torches are arranged in a 「木」 shape, lighting up the mountain with the ideograph. The trail to this site is well maintained for this purpose, though the climb itself is not trivial. Beyond the festival site is the ruin of Yamabukiyama-noroshidai, a signal fort. I was surprised to find here a three-storey mock reconstruction of a watch tower. The tower is falling to pieces, however, making ascending it a risky prospect. I did, of course, and there are views of the valley below to be had from there.

The fort's ruins consists of earthworks, such as dry moats, trenches and baileys. The main part of the fort is bounded by two trenches, which can still be seen clearly today; one is spanned by a short bridge and the one in the rear requires a short hop down into. These are each approached by sloped areas, redolent of former terracing. These trenches would've been much deeper originally, of course. Although now hard to see except from below the bailey, the main bailey is divided by a pair of dorui (earthen ramparts) with a trench between them that cuts into the main enclosure, creating a barrier which requires a diverted approach, though these earthworks are very deformed now and easy to miss. Short dorui can also be found toward the rear of the central enclosure.


Castle Profile
English Name Yamabukiyama Noroshidai
Japanese Name 山吹山烽火台
Founder Kiso Clan
Year Founded Medieval Times
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa, Miyagura
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Miyanokoshi Station on the Chūō West Line; 25 minute walk to trail head; 20-30 minute climb
Visitor Information Free; 24/7; mountain
Time Required 90 minutes
Location Kiso, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 54' 7.31" N, 137° 46' 11.53" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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