It's not known exactly when a castle was first built on this location, but early fortifications may have been here as far back as the 12th Century. The first records of a castle date to 1459 when they show that the Naganuma had built an impressive mountaintop castle. The Naganuma were one of the the four main power in the Aizu area including Ashina, Yamanouchi and Kawarada. The Naganuma fought many times with the Ashina but eventually became retainers of Date Masamuna when he took over Aizu in 1589. Naganuma then helped Date vanquish their other rivals the Kawarada. The Naganuma followed the Date when they left the Aizu area in 1590 and turned over control of Shigiyama Castle to Gamo Ujisato. In 1598, Shigiyama Castle came under the control of Uesugi Kagekatsu who stationed Naoe Kanetsugu's younger brother Ohkuni Saneyori as lord of the castle. After the Battle of Sekigahara, the Uesugi moved to Yonezawa and the Gamo once gaian became lords of Shigiyama Castle. Shigiyama castle was abandoned under the one castle per country law of 1627.
This castle is not easy to get to from Tokyo. It takes a good 3-4 hours, but you can enjoy the nice scenery along the way. You can catch an express train to the Nikko area but then it's all local trains. It would be easier if you came down from Aizu Wakamatsu. I wanted to visit this one because it looks interesting but is not well known. There are several moats, including a double moat, and several baileys that are well mapped out. There is an old public offices building from 1885 built in a Western style that is designated an important cultural property for Fukushima Prefecture. There is a little bit about the castle but it's mostly about the late 19th century government affairs. It's a nice little place to visit while you are in town. Be sure to visit the tourist information center at the castle to get some good maps and brochures before you start walking.
|English Name||Shigiyama Castle|
|Year Founded||14th C. (?)|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Features||trenches, stone walls|
|Access||Aizu Tajima Sta (Aizu Railway); 10 min walk to the entrance; 60 mins to the top of the mountain|
|Visitor Information||Mountain hike, so the trail is always open. Approximately a 40 min walk from the base to the top of the mountain.|
|Time Required||2.5 hours|
|Location||Minami Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture|
|Coordinates||37° 11' 53.38" N, 139° 46' 13.87" E|
|Visits||April 30, 2012|
|Added to Jcastle||2012|