|English Name||Obiki Castle|
|Year Founded||Muromachi Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Pre Edo Period
|Access||Ueda Sta. (Shinano Railway, Nagano Bullet train), 25 minute bus to Yukimuranosato bus stop (Sugadaira bus from #3 bus stop at Ueda Sta), 20 min walk|
|Visitor Information||mountain trails open any time|
|Time Required||45 mins|
|Location||Ueda, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 26' 51", 138° 18' 9"|
|Visits||March 31, 2016|
The early history of Obiki Castle is unclear but it was likely built by the Yokoo clan during the Muromachi Period. The castle occupies an important position on the mountain at the entrance to the road to Matsushiro. Along the same mountain ridge you'll also find <a href="http://jcastle.info/castle/profile/630-Okkoshi-Castle">Okkoshi Castle</a> and Nagao Castle. This area was an important defense on the roads leading to Ueda and Matsushiro. It would make sense that these three castles all worked together as the main defense for this side of the plain and for watching over these roads. There are also trails from Obiki Castle and the temple (Shinkoji) behind Okkoshi Castle that lead to Nagao Castle. A little farther north and west Seba Castle and Negoya Castle which also defended this important highway to Matsushiro and Zenkoji.
Obiki Castle has about 15 terraced koshiguruwa type (long and narrow) baileys around the front of the castle facing the road and plain with a narrow and steep switchback trail through these up to the top. Along the ridge in the back of the castle are 3 horikiri trenches and another small bailey for defense from the rear. These are along the trail to Nagao Castle.
Yokoo Nobumitsu died at the Battle of Uedahara, despite it being a great victory for the Murakami. His son was too young to become the new lord so the lands went to the Sanada. It is likely the Sanada manned it as one of the fortifications in their rich network around this plain. Even though each castle is not necessarily large nor strong the advanced network of castles around this area creates a formidable defense. The temple (Shinkoji) behind the castle was erected by Sanada Masayuki to his brother who perished at the Battle of Nagashino.
This is a neat little castle. I like the design with all these rounded half moon shaped koshiguruwa baileys around the front of this mountain facing the open plain.
If I were to go again, I would start from Shinkoji Temple and try to find the trail to Nagao Castle which should be around Shinkoji Temple and take it to Nagao Castle and down to Obiki Castle on the other side. Time permitting, it would be interesting to visit nearby Seba Castle and Negoya Castle too. There are so many Sanada related castles nearby. It would take several days to see them all.