Karakai Castle and Masugatayama Castle (Tokyo)

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Karakai Castle and Masugatayama Castle (Tokyo)

2018/01/03

Added two new castles from a day trip in Tokyo.

Karakai Castle / 辛垣城

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This is an easy day trip from Tokyo and very accessible for castle fans around Tokyo. Much of the central (honmaru) bailey was carved out as it was used as a stone quarry in the Edo Period but the edge remains and you can see several koshiguruwa (small side baileys) down the side. Past the Honmaru Bailey you'll run into a sign for the peak of Mt. Karakai. Follow the trail down the back side of this as it continues on to Mt. Raiden to see an impressive horikiri trench marking off the end of the castle. The trails are well maintained and connect to trails for many of the surrounding mountains which could be combined for a good hiking trip. I combined Karakai Castle with a detour to neighboring Masugatayama Castle on the way down. If you have some energy and time remaining I highly recommend a visit to the nearby Katsunuma Castle on the way back to Tokyo too.
Masugatayama Castle / 枡形山城

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Masugatayama Castle is best visited along with Karakai Castle. In that case you'll want to follow the trails to Karakai Castle first and then back down through Masugatayama Castle. You could do the reverse, but I think it is more interesting and logical to start with Karakai Castle. However, be VERY careful of the trails as you walk from Karakai Castle. Just after the tower for electric power lines the main hiking trail continues off to the left and on to another mountain. What you need to do is to take the (much less travelled) trail to the right and up to the top of a small ridge or mountaintop called Monomiyama. from here you just follow the ridge down to the castle ruins and back down the mountain.There are no signs on this trail until the main bailey of Masugatayama Castle so be careful. It looks like they have recently, probably this year, cut out a lot of trees around the main bailey of Masugatayama Castle and improved the trail going up from the bottom. I don't know what the purpose is but it would be great if they put up a few signs and continued to improve the trail going back through to Karakai Castle as well.
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