Hirai Kanayama Castle

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Castle Properties
English Name Hirai Kanayama Castle
Japanese Name 平井金山城
Alternate Names Hirai Tsumeshiro
Founder Uesugi Norizane
Year Founded 1438
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations Prefectural Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period


Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Gunma Fujioka Sta (Hachiko Line); 20 min bus (Kamidaira bus to Hino Shogakko Mae)
Visitor Information mountain trails open anytime
Time Required 120 mins
Website http://www.city.fujioka.gunma.jp/kakuka/f bunkazai/uesugisi2.html
Location Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 12' 51", 139° 1' 3"
Admin Visits
Year Visited 2017
Visits April 15, 2017
Added 2017
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Hiraikanayama16.jpg


History

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 is a hilltop castle and more suitable to governing a large province. Hirai Kanayama Castle remained as one of the mountaintop castles protecting the region and as the main backup castle to Hirai Castle when under siege. The castle was abandoned when the Uesugi were defeated.

There are some suspicious looking stone walls partway up the mountain. The man at the information center thought they could be from the remains of palaces built around the backside of the castle, but I think they look more like the remains of more recent farm fields.

This route to the castle is actually the rear entrance. The main entrance is the other side of the castle but that part of the base of the mountain is now a golf course. That partly explains why it is so steep and not so easy to climb here. There are some walking sticks near the trail head, if you don't have a trekking pole I suggest taking one with.

Visit Notes

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) bus stop to visit Hirai Kanayama Castle and then walked to Hirai Castle where I got the bus back to the train station. There is not much left to see at Hirai Castle, but it's worth the short walk to visit and it's right on the bus line back to the station. In front of the Yashima Shouten Mae (矢島商店前) bus stop there is also a small volunteer run information center (I think it's their house) and the proprietors will happily give you maps and materials about the castles. The man's father was one of the main people who surveyed Hirai Kanayama Castle. I spent a good 30 minutes chatting while waiting for the next bus.

Japanese Notes

バスが少ないので時刻表をよく確認してから行きましょう。今回私は日野小学校前で降りて、金山城を見てから平井城まで歩いて、そして平井城からまたバスに乗って帰りました。この道は実は大手道ではなく搦め手口です。大手口は現在ゴルフ場なので利用できません。登山口に杖が置いてあるので、ストックがなければ持って行った方が楽です。必須ではありませんが、ちょっと険しいちょっと滑りやすい箇所はあります。またここから登り始めると途中で石垣が多く見られます。案内所の人によると当時の屋敷跡ではないかと言ったが、私はもっと近世の畑後ではないかと思いました。

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