Karasawayama Castle 唐沢山城
Founder Sano Moritsuna
Year 1491
Type Mountaintop
Condition Ruins
Alternate Name Ushiga-jo, Nekoya-jo,
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Location Sano, Tochigi Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Tanuma Sta. (Tobu Sano Line); 60 min. walk
Website Karasawayama
Visited June 30, 2007
Notes There are very few castle ruins in the Tokyo area with this much stonework and castle ruins remaining. If you're in the area, it's worth a stop. There are a few hiking trails from the stations on either side of Tanuma that go up the mountain and down the other side. it could be a nice half day or so hike. The shortest road, the main road from Tanuma Sta. straight up the mountain, however, is very steep with many sharp hairpin turns and is not conducive to hiking.

Karasawayama Castle is one of the seven most famous castles of the Kanto area and is considered by many to have been the best mountaintop castle. It earned this recognition from withstanding 10 attacks by the Uesugi during the Sengoku Period.

In Hideyoshi's campaign against the Hojo, Sano sided with Hideyoshi. At that time, the Sano were in good relations with the Hojo so he removed all the Hojo from the castle. At the Battle of Sekigahara the Sano sided with Tokugawa.

It is said that in 1602 when there was a great fire at Edo Castle, the fire could be seen from the top of Karasawayama Castle. When he saw this, Sano sent his messengers to Edo Castle to relay his condolences. However, from this event it came to the attention of the Tokugawa that Karasawayama Castle looked down upon Edo Castle so the Sano were forced to abandon it and rebuild a new castle (Sano Castle) on a lower elevation.

It is also said that the Tokugawa claimed there was a law against mountaintop castles in the vicinity of Edo. Unfortunately, there is no proof that either of these stories is true. Regardless, the Sano moved their castle from Karasawayama to a nearby location in 1602.

Viewer Comments

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  • Usagi    November 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM
    Just visited this site yesterday. For those castle fans who enjoy stone work, this is a nice site close to Tokyo, with some great stone walls. This site can be easily combined with a day in Ashikaga. In Ashikaga, you can view a number of glorious temples and shrines such as Ashikagashi Yakata, and the Orihime shrine. If you enjoy a bit of mountain climbing you can also combine, Ashikaga castle ruins, which only has ground works remaining, but some amazing views across the valley.
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Sano, Tochigi Pref.
Karasawayama Castle views
stone wall of the honmaru.
stone walls (masugata gate). stone walls
stone walls stone walls
earthen walls view from a rock outcropping.
well dry moat
Karasawayama Shrine Obi Kuruwa bailey
Sannomaru bailey map of the castle grounds