It's not clear exactly when the castle was founded but it was likely in the 1440's to 1450's. It was built after Hayashiohjo Castle and the two combined are often simply called as Hayashi Castle. The Ogasawara surrendered when they were surrounded by the Takeda forces in 1550. The castle was destroyed and abandoned at this time.
Hayashikojo Castle combined with Hayashiohjo Castle across the small valley to the North are often call Hayashi Castle together. The "ko" in Hayashikojo castle is the Japanese character for small (小). The character for "old" (古) is also read "ko" and at one time it was thought that the character for "old" should be the character for the castle name since people assumed it was "older". Recent studies show that it is more likely to be newer than the larger Hayashiohjo Castle. The stone walls are also much more extensive than Hayashiohjo Castle and very similar to those at Kirihara Castle and Yamabe Castle. I think it also makes much more sense as the location of Hayashiohjo Castle seems to be a better location for a castle. It is higher with better views and looks more defensible.
This is a fantastic site. I wish I could rate it higher, but it's definitely a must see site around Matsumoto for fans of mountaintop castle ruins. There are many stone walls remaining and some very large earthworks and trenches around the site. The horikiri on the south side of the first bailey is especially impressive.
There are two or three different entrances. The one I used is the shortest way to the top and easy to find. There is a large sign along the road so you can't miss it. From the sign follow the track alongside the fields at the base of the mountain until you see a gate in the fence. Pass the gate (close it behind you) and follow the trail into the woods and up the mountain. A couple minutes in you will see a sign pointing up the trail for the castle ruins. It's easier than it sounds. Just follow the well worn paths. This castle should be visited in combination with Hayashiohjo Castle. There is a trail starting from the base of Hayashiohjo Castle up through the castle down the back entrance and then over to Hayashikojo Castle. I would recommend this trail over the route I took and then from Hayashikojo Castle go out the back entrance so that you can visit both castles without doubling back on the same trail anywhere. The only problem is finding a way back to the station. You should probably follow the road back to the trail head at the base of Hayashiohjo Castle and call a taxi or go over to the bus stop across the bridge and take the bus. There are only a few busses a day so plan carefully.
|English Name||Hayashikojo Castle|
|Alternate Names||Hayashi-jo, Fukuyama-jo|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Matsumoto Sta. (Shinonoi Line); 75 min walk.|
|Visitor Information||open anytime, unhook the gate yourself and pass through (close the gate behind you)|
|Time Required||120 mins|
|Location||Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 13' 11", 138° 0' 14"|
|Visits||October 31, 2015|