Washio Castle

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Said to have been built by the Kurashina clan, the actual date of construction and history are mostly unknown. The Kurashina may have been an offshoot of the Murakami, but little is known of them. When the Murakami fled Takeda Shingen in 1553, it is said that the Kurashina fled to Azumino (near Matsumoto) while the Murakami fled to Echigo (Niigata). The role of Washio Castle is unknown after this point but it was likely used by Takeda Shingen to fortify the entranceway to the large Zenkoji Plain. The Seino clan who originally fled with the Murakami to Echigo returned in 1559 and joined with the Takeda. It is thought they were given control of Washio Castle sometime around 1570. The castle was likely abandoned in 1598 when Uesugi kagekatsu moved to Aizu and the Seino joined them.

Sanada Nobuyuki's second daughter had a residence at the foot of this mountain too. Today there is a small garden and shrine where it once stood. A bit farther up the mountain was also a small temple that destroyed in a rainstorm in 1742. Given the steepness of the slope, I'm not surprised.

Visit Notes

This is a fantastic little castle. The initial climb is rather steep but not so long and suddenly you arrive at the main bailey with a 3m high stone wall. Despite the many castles around Nagano with early period stonework, this is one of the highest walls. The castle extends along the ridge with several well defined baileys and horikiri. I biked from Matsushiro Castle but the best route is probably to go from Yashiro Station. You can also take a bus from Yashiro Station to Matsushiro Castle and watch for a good place to get off somewhat nearer to Washio Castle and walk the rest of the way too but the route and where to get off are not clear.

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  • Stone walls
  • Daigiji Temple site
  • Steep path
  • Steep trail
  • First sight of stone walls.
  • Stone walls
  • High stone wall
  • Stone walls
  • Stone walls
  • Stone walls
  • Stone walls
  • Stone walls
  • Stone walls
  • Washio Castle marker
  • Main bailey entrance
  • Main bailey
  • Stone wall of the main bailey
  • Main bailey
  • Main bailey
  • Wall behind the main bailey
  • Wall behind the main bailey
  • Horikiri trench
  • double horikiri trench
  • Double horikiri and main bailey
  • Second bailey
  • Horikiri trench after the second bailey
  • double horikiri trench
  • Third bailey and kofun
  • View from the third bailey
  • Fourth bailey
  • horikiri trench
  • sign
  • view of the mountain
  • view of the mountain

Castle Profile
English Name Washio Castle
Japanese Name 鷲尾城
Founder Kurashina clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Yashiro Sta., walk
Visitor Information
Time Required 140 mins
Location Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 32' 10.72" N, 138° 9' 42.91" E
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Added to Jcastle 2017
Admin Year Visited 2016
Admin Visits December 3, 2016

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