Zen Castle

From Jcastle.info


Zen Castle was built in the mid Muromachi Period as the main castle of the Zen clan. Through much of it's history, Zen Castle was caught up in the struggles for this area as it was in between the greatest powers in the Kanto region. From 1469-1487, the Zen were constantly under attack by the Sano and finally forced from the castle. After becoming a vassal of the Yokoze at Ota Kanayama, they received Yokoze assistance to retake Zen Castle in 1488.

Roughly 100 years later, the Zen found themselves in a pivotal point between the Uesugi, Hojo, and Takeda. In 1572, their former allies the Yokoze (now known as the Yura) joined forces with the Hojo, while the Zen joined with the Uesugi. In the same year, the lord of Zen Castle was killed in a battle with the Shibukawa, vassals of the Hojo. The young heir was taken in by the Uesugi and in 1574, the Uesugi recaptured Zen Castle making it their furthest border castle. It is likely that the Oogo who was castellan at Yamagami Castle likewise managed Zen Castle together due to their very close proximity. The castle was lastly captured by the Takeda in 1580 but then abandoned with the death of Takeda Katsuyori in 1582 and the end of the Takeda family.

Visit Notes

Just a short walk from Yamagami Castle, Zen Castle is also a must see if you are nearby. Each bailey is fairly small compared to Yamagami Castle but it has a very Sengoku Period feel with many baileys and trenches. The baileys are also zigzagged creating flanking fire zones everywhere.

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  • Trenches and baileys
  • Trench and bailey embankment
  • Honmaru bailey
  • Trench and baileys
  • Trench and baileys
  • Trench
  • Trenches and baileys
  • Trench
  • Fukurokuruwa bailey
  • Trenches and baileys
  • Trenches
  • Trench
  • earthen bridge
  • Bailey
  • Trench
  • Trench and baileys
  • Embankment along a bailey
  • Trench and bailey
  • Trench and bailey
  • Trenches and baileys
  • Map

Castle Profile
English Name Zen Castle
Japanese Name 膳城
Founder Zen clan
Year Founded Mid Muromachi Period
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Zen Station (Jomo Rail Jomo Line), 10 min walk
Visitor Information Park, open any time
Time Required 40 mins
Website http://akagi-yama.jp/archives/29359
Location Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 25' 17.26" N, 139° 13' 23.95" E
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Added to Jcastle 2016
Admin Year Visited 2016
Admin Visits May 3, 2016

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