Yasuda Castle (Echigo)
The Ômi (大見) Clan of Izu, who were one of the gokenin (important retainers) of the Kamakura-bakufu, moved to Echigo and settled this area, becoming the Yasuda Clan. Yasudajō was first built by the Yasuda Clan in the Kamakura period. In 1507 Yasuda Nagahide supported Nagao Tamekage in his war with Echigo Province governor Uesugi Fusayoshi. Tamekage is an example of a Sengoku period deputy governor who usurped the position of governor; his son, Nagao Kagetora, was adopted into the Uesugi family and would take charge of it, adopting the name Uesugi Kenshin.
Following the relocation of Uesugi Kagekatsu to Aizu in 1598, Yasuda fell under the jurisdiction of Murakami Domain which belonged to Murakami Yoshiaki. Lord Yoshiaki made Yoshitake Ukon castellan of Yasudajō with a sub-fief valued at 7,000 koku (the Yasuda Clan had followed their master to Aizu). In 1618 Hori Naoyori took over the Murakami Domain, and in 1639 Hori Naotoki established Yasuda Domain, worth 30,000 koku. However, nearby Muramatsujō was elected as the seat of this new sub-domain by his son, Hori Naoyoshi, and Yasudajō was abandoned in 1644.
Yasudajō is a hirajiro (flatland castle) ruin in Yasuda township (the town uses different kanji to the castle), Agano Municipality. A single large bailey appears to be nearly wholly surrounded by mizubori (water moats). There is a largish mound of earth which may have been a yaguradai (turret platform), or perhaps it is just what remains of the dorui (earthen ramparts) which must’ve protected the bailey. Looking at satellite imagery, I thought this site was a former driving school because of the tightly packed, looping roads visible, but I think this was some kind of driving course for babies in carts or something. Road signs and traffic lights have been removed or are left to rust now though so I guess it’s no longer in use. Despite this the site is well-maintained as a local park, Jōnōchi-kōen (‘Park within the Castle’), and the moat is filled with pink hasu (lotus).
Yasudajō originally had two baileys, an outer and inner; a small portion of the outer moat also remains, but I couldn’t find a path to it, and as far as I can tell it has been reduced to the state of a swampy pond.
Note: I have tagged this site with the province name ‘Echigo’ to distinguish it from Yasuda Castle in Toyama Prefecture (Etchū Province). However, there is another site in Echigo called ‘Yasudajō’. This above described ‘Echigo-Yasudajō’ is a hirajiro in historical Kanbara County (Agano Municipality), and the other is a yamajiro in historical Kariwa County (Kashiwazaki Municipality). I have given primacy of place to this one as it appears to be the better known of the two amongst castle-bloggers.
|Yasuda Castle (Echigo)
|Prefectural Historic Site
|Mizubori, Dorui, Kuruwa
|Nearest stations are Maoroshi Station on the Ban’etsu West Line and Kyōgase Station on the Uetsu Main Line
|Open 24/7; free (park)
|Agano, Niigata Prefecture
|37° 46' 25.46" N, 139° 14' 15.83" E
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