Matsuida Castle is said to have been established between 1558-1570, but the castle history starts with an older castle named Suwa Castle built on this site by the Suwa clan. In 1561, Takeda Shingen unsuccessfully attacked the Annaka clan at Suwa Castle. The Takeda would again be repelled in February of 1562. In September of the same year Takeda skipped over Suwa Castle (Matsuida Castle), defeated the Annaka at Annaka Castle and effectively absorbed the Annaka lands. From this time, the place name of Suwa is replaced by Matsuida. Matsuida Castle (Suwa Castle), the last holdout of the Annaka, is finally defeated by Takeda Shingen in 1564 and Annaka Tadamasa takes his own life.
After the defeat of the Takeda clan, the region was put under the control of Nobunaga's lieutenant Takigawa Kazumasa. The Hojo took advantage of the confusion caused by Nobunaga's death in 1582 and took the castle form Takigawa. Daidoji Masashige completely renovated the castle for the Hojo and fortified it as an important defense along the border with the Shinano province. The castle remains you see today are from this time period. In the 1590 Siege of Odawara, Matsuida Castle was besieged by the forces of Maeda Toshiie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, and Sanada Masayuki for over a month before Daidoji Masashige capitulated to Maeda Toshiie. The castle was then abandoned.
This was a really great site to visit. It's a lot of fun to walk the trails up and down the ridges and there are a lot of very well preserved earthworks. it's a shame my photos don't do the site justice. The highlights include the "S Shaped Trench" and a series of several trenches right after one another on the west side. There are a lot of good signs pointing out various features which is rare for a mountaintop castle, but they're also important because the structure is somewhat difficult to comprehend when you're actually there. There is a volunteer organization that takes good care of the site.
The castle is heavily overgrown so you'll want to go in winter or early spring when there's no snow. There are also signs warning of bears so that's another good reason to visit while they're hibernating. There are 2 main routes into the castle. The north side of the mountain ridge has some parking spaces and you can walk up the Main route into the castle. The main entrance has the castle map and it's much easier to understand the castle structure if you start from here. If you're walking from the station though, you should probably take the trail that starts from along the highway. That's only about a 15 min walk form the station and will easily save you 30 minutes walking and a lot of energy.
|English Name||Matsuida Castle|
|Alternate Names||Kasumiga-jo, Suwa-jo|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Nishi Matsuida Sta. (Shin'etsu Line), 15 min walk to trailhead along the highway; 40 mins walk to the Otemichi Trailhead|
|Visitor Information||Mountain, open any time|
|Time Required||150 mins|
|Location||Annaka, Gunma Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 19' 21", 138° 47' 33"|
|Visits||March 11, 2018|
|Added to Jcastle||2018|