|English Name||Kasama Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles|
|Historical Period|| Edo Period
|Features||gates, turrets, trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Kasama Sta (Mito Line); 50 min walk|
|Location||Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 22' 57", 140° 16' 2"|
|Visits||May 4, 2011|
At the age of 16, Utsunomiya Tokitomo became lord of the Kasama area and changed his name to Kasama. He spent 16 years building up the original Kasama Castle, completing it in 1235. Many details of the Kasama clan are not well known, but it seems that they ruled over the area form Kasama Castle until the end of the Sengoku Period. In 1591, Kasama Tsunaie refused the summons from the Utsunomiya clan to go to the battle at Odawara so the Kasama clan was replaced by Tamanyu Katsumasa. After Ieyasu moved to Edo, the lord of Kasama Castle changed frequently. In particular the Gamo and Asano made modifications to the castle to make it more modern. Kasama Castle is rare among the Sengoku Period mountaintop castles because it lasted through the Edo Period without being abandoned, moved or entirely rebuilt in the Edo Period. Perhaps that is a sign of how well it was designed, deftly using of the terrain to its tactical advantage. It is also rare in the Kanto region for its stone walls.
Visit NotesI visited this castle during Golden Week of 2011. There was a fair amount of damage from the recent earthquake which I was not expecting. You can see some of it in the pictures here. The above picture shows the stone steps to the main keep bailey. As you can see, some of the stones came loose.
During Golden Week, Kasama also has a pottery festival and azalea festival. The azalea festival is right next to where the castle is and an hourly shuttle bus makes the rounds between each festival and the station so why not make a day of it and enjoy them all.