Ueda Castle 上田城
Founder Sanada Masayuki
Sanada
Year 1583
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Alternate Name Amagafuchi-jo, Isesaki-jo, Matsuo-jo, Sanada-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Ueda, Nagano Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Ueda Sta. (Nagano Shinkansen, 15 min walk)
Website Ueda City Sightseeing
Visited October 16, 2008; April 4, 2009
Notes This was a great castle to visit. The large tough gate flanked by 2 yagura is quite impressive. There is also a well on the temple grounds that also supposedly hid a secret passage out to the north of the castle.
History

Sanada Masayuki built Ueda Castle in 1583. In 1585 and 1600 he turned back two attacks by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Before the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Sanada met the forces of Tokugawa Hidetada at Ueda Castle. He repelled the 38,000 warriors of the Tokugawa with only 2500 castle defenders. The castle town was very well planned and the castle deftly made use of the rivers and landscape for its defense. This battle sufficiently delayed Hidetada so that he didn't arrive in time for the battle of Sekigahara.

After the Battle of Sekigahara, Ueda Castle was given over to Sanada Nobuyuki who was ordered to destroy it by the Tokugawa. He razed the castle and moved to Matsushiro Castle. Sengoku Tadamasa started rebuilding Ueda Castle in 1622. He redug the moat and started restoring the Honmaru and Ninomaru before he died. His work was not continued after his death, but the structures you see today date to this time period.

The North, South and West yagura are all original.

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  • ART    October 27, 2016 at 11:11 PM
    I learnt about the following defensive feature at this castle: 千鳥掛け柵 CHIDORIGAKESAKU (Cross-stitch paling) This device functions as a gigantic trap. Wooden palings or fences are erected between castle walls or along a town street which funnel the enemy. The enemy charges forward but now in a trickle. Because the palings slope inward pushing through them is not difficult. However, at the other side the enemy finds an ambush. Trying to retreat, the enemy is mowed down. Exiting via the Chidorigakesaku is much more difficult because the direction of the palings, sometimes with sharp points on the end, impedes the enemy, making it impossible to flee with haste. On either side of the palings are now pockets which attackers may turn into in their confusion and become trapped, easy to pick off by defenders. This device was employed with great success at the Battle of Kami River (1585) where the vastly outnumbered defenders of Ueda Castle, under Sanada Masayuki, trounced the numerically superior Tokugawa forces.
  • Anonymous    May 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM
    I visit this place twice almost every day. So do many other folks who I have got to know. The turrets you see in the photo were dismantled and taken to Tokyo by an American entrepreneur after WWII. They were used in the construction of an elaborate brothel! After pressure was somehow applied (who said ninjutsu is dead) they were returned. There is not a lot left of what the castle originaly was, but it was never a huge castle anyway. The key to its stragegic brilliance was the design of the city around it. It was surrounded by cleverly designed waterways, and the only 'easy' (lol) approach was from the Chikuma flatland below. The attackers were faced with a literally HUGE uphill battle! As someone said, the place is wonderful during Hanami (cherry blossom viewing season). There are usually costumed actors there between 10 and 4 on weekdays (except Wednesdays and during winter), who are very happy to pose for photos with you. Mike Mike's English School, Ueda
  • Anonymous    May 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM
    Ueda castle means a lot to me. I went to Ueda High School in the 1970s, located in the middle of the castle grounds. I went through the main gate, before restoration, each day on the way to school. It was a fantastic environment in which to study.
  • Kris on My Page    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 PM
    The iconic gates were awesome. The well was interesting. The park grounds inside were nice and there were people having a picnic on the green clover in the honmaru area. I went here after Komoro on my way to Nagano. I wasn't really a Sanada Yukimura fan at all until I came to Ueda. Then the town worked its magic on me and I ended up buying a heap of gotochi goods. Ueda's Yukimura is more like the man of legend and less like the lad of pop culture. The Sanada family crest is everywhere over the town, from lamp-posts to man-hole covers, the city hall is covered in banners showing the 10 Yukimura Braves, and the words 'hi-no-moto-ichi-no-tsuwamono' are written everywhere. I also went to a museum with a small collection of armour and caltraps and a large collection of books.
  • Raymond    September 12, 2009 at 11:15 AM
    This castle is about a 15 minute walk from the train station. There isn’t much here except for the main gate and some turrets. Two of the turrets are original. The main gate has been reconstructed (very new inside.) Go down into the carpark and look up at the Nishi Yagura for a great view of the turret and ishigaki (stone walls).There is the Ueno City Museum on the Ninomaru grounds. It’s has the most extensive display of samurai armour and weapons out of all the museums that I visited in Nagano. Entry to main gate and museum cost 250yen. Ueda is a good place to base yourself for visiting the castles in this part of Nagano. I went to Ueda, Komoro, and Matsushiro Castle in one day after having stayed overnight at a business hotel in Ueda. I did not have enough time to visit a fourth castle in one day, but you can also see Arato Castle from the Shinano Line as you pass one of the train stations (sorry, forgot its name) heading towards Yashiro.
  • furinkazan    August 04, 2009 at 03:02 AM
    I went there in last april. This site is really worth a visit, especially when the sakura are blooming. The musea in the towers and on the precincts of the castlesite are certainly to be commended.
  • Webmaster    April 29, 2008 at 05:55 AM
    The below as translated by babelfish-- Babel Fish Translation Help In English: Splendid excellently well conserved castle in harmony with the naturalezal Thank you very much by permiyir to me to appreciate this one sample of culture and art of the Jopón. I hope to have the luck, someday, of being able to visit the castles. Hugo Quintero Miño arpon@vtr.net
  • Hugo Quintero Miño    April 28, 2008 at 10:36 PM
    Espléndido castillo excelentemente bien conservado en armonía con la naturalezal Muchas gracias por permiyirme apreciar ésta muestra de cultura y arte del Jopón. Espero tener la suerte, algún día, de poder visitar los castillos. Hugo Quintero Miño arpon@vtr.net
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Ueda, Nagano Pref.
Ueda Castle views
reconstructued gate and yagura South Yagura
yaguramon gate south yagura and yaguramon gate
inside of North Yagura north yagura
north yagura nishi yagura
nishi yagura and stone walls honmaru moat
honmaru moat dry moat
map gate to the lord's palace.
moat stone walls