Kasugayama Castle 春日山城
Founder Uesugi clan
Uesugi
Year 1573-1592
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Hachigamine-jo
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site National Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Joetsu, Niigata Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Kasugayama Sta. (Shin'etsu Line); 45 min walk
Website Joetsu City Sightseeing - Kasugayama Castle
Visited October 10, 2011
Notes There aren't many structures or stone walls to impress you but the castle grounds are well kept and very vast. In addition to the main part of the castle ruins, there are two museums nearby, Rinsenji Temple, and the Eastern Fortress area. If you have the time, I highly recommend you begin your exploration of the castle from the Ote-do Road. It is a road the winds up the side of the mountain past several historical sites. It was the main road used to enter and exit the castle. Also be sure to visit the nearby Takada Castle for a most fulfilling day of castle exploring.
History The Kasugayama Castle we see today was constructed by Nagao Tamekage and his son Uesugi Kenshin. There was an older castle on this site that dates to the 14th century, but little is known about it. Kenshin's successor, Kagekatsu became lord of the castle after Kenshin's death in 1578. 20 years later, Kagekatsu moved to Aizu and Hori Hideharu became lord of Kasugayama Castle. Hori built a new castle, called Fukushima Castle, on a more flatland location closer to the harbor and in 1607 Kasugayama Castle was abandoned.

Kasugayama Castle was one of the largest and strongest fortresses built in the Sengoku Period. The castle had no stone walls but there were many enclosures and dry moats built around the mountain. Kasugayama Castle was also protected by a network of forts and other castles in the area. Kasugayama Castle was never attacked so we'll never know how well it may have withstood an invasion.

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  • pskully.japan    February 29, 2016 at 02:08 PM
    I visited this castle yesterday, and hiked up from the Ote-do Road to the site of the Hon-maru, then down by the Kasugayama Shrine way. The site was very interesting, and the view was fantastic! However, I can't recommend this route in the winter, as the path was covered with snow drifts in areas up to my knees.. Only go in winter if you have the proper equipment!
  • hikarisailorcat    August 24, 2015 at 11:53 AM
    I haven`t explored much around the mountain here yet, but if you walk up the stairs from the car park it`s well worth the view. They often have some locals dressed in costume doing historical scenes there too. And the statue of Uesugi Kenshin is in a good spot over looking the city. The best time to come is around the 22nd and 23rd weekend of August during the Kenshin Festival when the whole Kasugayama area is full of festives and the famous Gackt dresses up as Uesugi Kenshin in the parade.
  • furinkazan on My Page    May 16, 2014 at 08:31 PM
    After Takadacastle i went to this site. Due to strong, very stong, winds the trains were delayed. I arrived at 2.30pm instead of 12.52am. Normally the ride from Takada-station to Kasugayama-station is 4min. The first building i went to was the Joetsu-shi deposit cultural assets center. Next to it is a statue of Uesugi Kenshin on his horse. Inside is a little museum(only in japanese, but free). I asked about the 100 meijo stamp and they send me to the Monogatari Holl(written like this on the map). From there i went to the Kasugajinja and the Rinsenji. I highly recommend to visit the museum of this last temple. It contains alot of artifacts : weapons, armors, scrolls... Some replica armors used in the Taiga doramas 'Fuurinkazan' and 'Tenchijin' were also on display. From there i went to the Kasugayamajinja and so on to the honmaru. I was stunned by the lot of boards explaining, in japanese and english, what stood actually there in it's heyday. I didn't expect that. The view from the honmaru is splendid. When i arrived there the wind became strong again and some menacing clouds were coming in, so i decided to take as much as pictures as i could of the panels i encountered, to read them later. I managed to get at the train-station for the train of 5.42pm. The site is really incredible. Even without buildings i give it 2.5stars, also including the shrines and the temple.
  • Kris on My Page    January 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM
    I was impressed by this site – it was far larger than I expected and excellently and informatively sign-posted in Japanese and English. The explanations cater to every possible reason you could have for visiting Kasugayama; history fan, castle fan, TV drama fan, manga fan, general Uesugi fan or Uesugi detractor, or perhaps you are just looking for an informative hike. For that reason, even though there wasn't so much remaining structure-wise, the place really came alive. Summer was a good time to visit with the pine trees poking up out of the verdant greenery on the one hand and the blue skies and sweeping view down to the plains on the other - although rain in the morning had turned the gravel paths into mini rivers and waterfalls. I wouldn't recommend this site on a rainy day. The staff were friendly and helpful; one guide pointed out aoso, a kind of local hemp, still growing wild on the mountain. The fibers from this plant were used to make cloth much prized in Kyoto, the sale of which provided a large part of the Uesugi income. Also, I'm not sure if it was just for public holidays or a regular occurrence, but there were people dressed up in period costumes too. My boyfriend teased me for being so eager to see the castle by saying Kenshin wouldn't be waiting at the top; when we finally got up the stairs I just pointed out the ashigaru and men in eboshi and smiled.
  • Kris on My Page    January 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM
    I was impressed by this site – it was far larger than I expected and excellently and informatively sign-posted in Japanese and English. The explanations cater to every possible reason you could have for visiting Kasugayama; history fan, castle fan, TV drama fan, manga fan, general Uesugi fan or Uesugi detractor, or perhaps you are just looking for an informative hike. For that reason, even though there wasn't so much remaining structure-wise, the place really came alive. Summer was a good time to visit with the pine trees poking up out of the verdant greenery on the one hand and the blue skies and sweeping view down to the plains on the other - although rain in the morning had turned the gravel paths into mini rivers and waterfalls. I wouldn't recommend this site on a rainy day. The staff were friendly and helpful; one guide pointed out aoso, a kind of local hemp, still growing wild on the mountain. The fibers from this plant were used to make cloth much prized in Kyoto, the sale of which provided a large part of the Uesugi income. Also, I'm not sure if it was just for public holidays or a regular occurrence, but there were people dressed up in period costumes too. My boyfriend teased me for being so eager to see the castle by saying Kenshin wouldn't be waiting at the top; when we finally got up the stairs I just pointed out the ashigaru and men in eboshi and smiled.
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Joetsu, Niigata Pref.
Kasugayama Castle views
Mt. Kasuga Former Guard House Location
Ote-do Road South Sannomaru Bailey Residences
Remains of Kakizaki Izunokami's residence The remains of Uesugi Kagekatsu's residence
Well enclosure Looking over the Ninomaru bailey
view from the former main keep main keep enclosure
Honmaru Honmaru
Location of the Suwado and Gomado temples. Bishamondo Temple
Site of the Naoe Family home Site of the Naoe Family home
Dry moats Dry moats
Senkan Gate Path along the Senkan Gate
A gate from the castle Eastern Fortress
Moat of the Eastern Fortress Eastern Fortress
Moat of the Eastern Fortress Eastern Fortress and reconstructed building
Map