It’s one heck of a slog to the ruins of Amabikijō. It can be accessed coming by the ruins of Oh’iwajō, Tsukioijō or probably Hitakijō (Kojō), though I didn’t make it to the latter. I climbed to Amabikijō from Oh’iwajō. There’s no trail so I just had to follow the ridge. Amabikijō, straddling the ridge, can be said to be divided into two areas with a low point in between, and I eventually made the ridge at this low point after traipsing through a slope full of fern plants. At many points up that interminable mountain I crawled like an animal, looking like some lanky bear with mange I suppose. Eventually I reached the top. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop to rest because there were many large flies spawning. They seemed to materialise around me if I dawdled too long. They mostly just landed on my jeans so they weren’t the worst, and I couldn’t figure if they were the same group of flies or new ones wherever I went, so I stubbornly smacked a bunch to rule out being followed. There were in reality just thousands of flies about. I thought they might not be around in mid’ October, but hey. I postponed snacking, having been on the mountain for several hours at this point, and just got down to business so as not to be assailed by the insects.
The main part of Amabikijō is based around the peak called – I think – Meikakusan (明覚山). The map I was referencing put the peak in the lower, less developed part of the castle to the west, but I think this was a mistake. The peak is the tallest point with the hokora (mini-shrine) on a platform of piled stones; it corresponds to the uppermost part of Amabikijō. Amabikijō straddles the ridge with a central cluster of baileys, then tapering off down the ridge in the east and west with some further small baileys and trenches, the baileys being built by flattening peaks along the ridge. The features of this castle include earthworks such as kuruwa (baileys), koshikuruwa (terraced sub-baileys), dorui (earthen ramparts), and hori (trenches). Despite the ups and downs I made it to every trench and bailey. Having made it to a detached bailey in the east, I then backtracked and descended at the easternmost bailey in the central cluster, which took me to the ruins of Tsukioijō.
|English Name||Amabiki Castle|
|Year Founded||Sengoku Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Horikiri, Kuruwa, Koshikuruwa, &c.|
|Access||Nearest station is Suzaka Station on the Nagano Line; climb from Tsukioijō or Oh’iwajō|
|Visitor Information||24/7 free; mountain|
|Time Required||40 minutes|
|Location||Takayama, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 38' 53.92" N, 138° 20' 49.16" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2022|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|
|Friends of JCastle|