Takeda Katsuyori built Shinpu Castle in order to increase the defenses of his territory under the continuous threat posed by Nobunaga and Tokugawa forces in the area. The area where Shinpu Castle is located was the most central location of all their lands at the time and Katsuyori envisioned creating a new castle town such that he even ordered his retainers to move their homes here. It is ironic that his plans may have actually weakened his overall defensive position and quickened the fall of the Takeda clan. After suffering a terrible defeat to Nobunaga forces at Suwa, Takeda Katsuyori's forces retreated back to Shinpu Castle. By this time his forces had dwindled from over 20,000 to a mere 3,000 men. On March 3, 1582 Katsuyori set fire to Shinpu Castle and fled with his remaining 300-400 men. By March 11, all of the remaining Takeda forces had been destroyed and the days of the Takeda clan came to an end.
This is a great site to visit. Most people will go straight to the Honmaru from the steep stairs next to the sign, but I would recommend taking the side path off to the left. Then you'll enter the castle the proper way via the Otemon, Sannomaru, and Ninomaru before getting to the Honmaru. There are also some embankments and ruins along the North side of the mountain that I've missed twice now.
I would recommend you wait until after the leaves have fallen in the late autumn or early spring after the snow melts to visit this castle. Even in October the weeds and bugs were horrible. The Ninomaru and Sannnomaru are nearly impossible to get into and it's hard to see many of the embankments and castle structures.
This was probably the first "ruins only, not even stone walls" castle I ever visited (Nov 2003). I was probably hooked on mountaintop castle ruins from here so it always holds a special place to me. I've been here twice now (14 years apart) and still missed things so I'll need to go back again.
|English Name||Shinpu Castle|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Next 100 Castles, National Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Access||Shinpu Station (Chuo Line), 15 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||park open any time|
|Time Required||90 mins|
|Location||Nirasaki, Yamanashi Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 44' 8", 138° 25' 29"|
|Year Visited||2003, 2017|
|Visits||November 15, 2003; October 9, 2017|
|Added to Jcastle||2003|