Yokota Castle

From Jcastle.info

Yokotajou (1).jpg


Yokotajō dates to the late Heian period. In 1181, Jō Shisoku of Echigo invaded Shinano to defeat Kiso Yoshinaka, and used Yokotajō as an encampment. Kiso Yoshinaka would ultimately be victorious, pushing Jō out of the province and securing Yokotajō following the battle of Yokotagawa. Kiso Yoshinaka attempted to pursue the enemy back to Echigo, but then retreated back to Yokotajō, making it a Genji base.

In 1400, prior to the battle of Ôtō, Ogasawara Nagahide, the besieged governor of Shinano Province, mobilised from Zenkōji and took up position at Yokotajō before moving to Shiozakijō. Local rebellious clans, including the Inōe, Murakami, Takanashi, and Nishina, besieged Yokotajō, forcing the governor to flee at night. Hundreds of mounted warriors were discovered moving in the gloom, and Ogasawara forces were split. Nagahide made it to Shiozaki with 150 men, but two thirds of his army had to fall back to Ôtōjō, which neighboured Yokotajō to the southwest, where they were besieged and starved by the rebels, eating the horses they rode in on.

Due to the later addition of an umadashi (barbican) at Yokotajō, a feature only seen in the Sengoku period, and in particular used by the Takeda Clan, it is presumed that the castle also played a role in the Kawanakajima campaigns between Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin.

Yokotajō's structure was formed from waterways dividing baileys, including a south-facing umadashi. The main bailey is thought to have been located in an area called Tono-yashiki (Lord's residence), indicating a residential space. The fort's outer moat measured 180m north-south and 230m east-west, and it was large enough to ensconce a small settlement, attaining the proportions of a fortress, with the citadel portion, or inner bailey, being a rough square of about 55m on each side surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts). Overall it was quite an expansive fortress.

Visit Notes

Yokotajō is a hirajiro (flatland castle) ruin in Shinonoi Township, Nagano Muncipality. A large mound is all that remains of the castle. This tall corner segment of dorui (earthen ramparts) is now used as a raised platform for a small altar to Inari, and may have originally been a yaguradai (turret platform).

  • Yaguradai (turret platform)

Castle Profile
English Name Yokota Castle
Japanese Name 横田城
Founder Jō Clan; Kiso Yoshinaka
Year Founded Before 1181
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Local Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dorui
Visitor Information
Access Shinonoi Station on the Shinonoi Line; 13 minute walk
Visitor Information Access Limited
Time Required 10 minutes
Location Nagano, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 34' 28.06" N, 138° 8' 48.44" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki

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