Inabe Shigeyoshi was the lord of Ina Kasuga Castle and his first son inherited that position. His second son, Shigekuni, however, established the Tonojima branch and built Tonojima Castle (the main Inabe line became the Kasuga Clan). In 1545 Takeda Shingen invaded Ina and the Tonojima Clan submitted to his rule at first but later joined Inabe Shigechika in rebellion; they were executed and Tonojimajō came under the dominion of the Takeda Clan. In 1582 Oda Nobunaga invaded Ina and Tonojimajō fell to his armies as part of a wider attack on Takato Castle.
The ruins of Tonojima Castle are now a park. Features include tall dorui (earth-piled ramparts) and karabori (dry moats), which eventually slope off down the cliffside which the castle was built upon. From pictures I'd seen online it looked like a gatehouse had been reconstructed but actually it's more like an entranceway with the name of the castle atop in the vague shape of a yaguramon; it doesn't even have any windows! So that's unfortunate and I won't count it as part of the castle's assets. When I came some young teens were playing a game with - I think - airsoft guns, and they wore goggles and black gear. I could detect one hiding behind the gate and I knew he'd heard me approach; he nearly mistook me for one of his friends but luckily I know the Japanese for "don't shoot". Since the castle's shukuruwa (main bailey) was the boys' arena, they called a ceasefire whilst I plodded around. I felt kind of bad for them so I stuck to the ramparts and then descended into the trenches to inspect the earthworks from below - so that the boys could merrily shoot each other again. Nice to see kids playing outside.
|English Name||Tonojima Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Dorui, Karabori, Kuruwa|
|Access||Sawando Station on the Iida Line; 35 minute walk|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; park|
|Time Required||60 minutes|
|Location||Ina, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 48' 19.30" N, 137° 57' 42.05" E|
|Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|