|English Name||Hirai Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Access||Gunma Fujioka Sta (Hachiko Line); 20 min bus (Kamidaira bus to Yashima Shouten Mae)|
|Visitor Information||park, open any time|
|Time Required||20 mins|
|Location||Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 13' 9", 139° 1' 47"|
|Visits||April 15, 2017|
In 1438 Uesugi Norizane was the Kanto Kanrei (governor of the Kanto provinces directly under the Ashikaga Shogun). When discord erupted between him and the Ashikaga he fled to the Kozuke region and built Hirai Kanayama Castle . In 1467, when the Onin War broke out, Uesugi Akisada established a new castle, Hirai Castle, from which the Uesugi would continue to govern until they were defeated by the Hojo in 1552.
Hirai Castle and the Uesugi domain was in a very strategic location with good access to the Kamakura Highway. During these uncertain times time they fortified their lands with over 40 castles and forts. At it's peak, under Uesugi Akisada, Hirai rivaled Kamakura behind only Kyoto in terms of prosperity.
There are very few busses from the station to the castle so please check the bus schedule carefully. For this trip I got off at the Hino Elementary School (日野小学校前) to visit Hirai Kanayama Castle and then walked to Hirai Castle where I got the bus back to the train station.
There are very few remains left to see here, but if you combine it with a visit to Hirai Kanayama Castle (a short walk away) it makes a worthy day trip. In front of the Yashima Shouten Mae (矢島商店前) bus stop there is also a small volunteer run visitor center (I think it's their house) and the proprietors will happily give you maps and materials about the castle. The man's father was one of the main people who surveyed Hirai Kanayama Castle.