Kaneyama Castle (Mutsu)
|English Name||Mutsu Kaneyama Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Access||Marumori Station on Abukuma Express Line; Taxi.|
|Time Required||1 hour|
|Location||Marumori, Fukushima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||37° 53' 55", 140° 48' 26"|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
The Soma clan expanded from their ancestral territory, known today for the breeding of horses, into the interior, fighting back the Date clan. Kaneyamajō was built as a frontier castle in 1566 and in 1570 the Soma conquered the Date castle of Marumorijō on the other side of the river. In 1581 the Date returned to besiege Kaneyamajō, led by Munemoto Nakajima, a vassal of Date Terumune. Date Masamune’s first entry into war was at this siege. In 1584 the Some retreated and Munemoto Nakajima became castellan. The Date built stonewalls here and the rectangular blocks of stone are similar, albeit more roughly worked, to those used at Aobajō, the Date’s headquarters. Throughout the Momoyama and Edo Periods, Kaneyamajō served as a frontier castle of the Date clan, ran by their hereditary vassals the Nakajima, until the Meiji Restoration. Kaneyamajō was abandoned following the Boshin War and left to ruin.
Kaneyamajō is a mountaintop castle ruin. It is well maintained and sign posted. There are many well-defined baileys to explore and the honmaru (main bailey) at the top of the castle offers vast views of the surrounding plain. Kaneyamajō’s highlight is an impressive, jutting segment of uchikomi-hagi ishigaki (rough-hewn stone wall). The lower blocks project out forming a staircase-like shape at the base. The Abukuma River flows by the castle. We took the winding road following the river to the castle. It has great scenic beauty with towering rocks and kawakishi (river beaches) hemming the river bank.