Aruga Castle


Arugajou (2).JPG


It is thought that Aruga Castle was first built around 1220 by the Aruga Clan. In 1542 Takeda Shingen invaded Suwa and the Aruga Clan sided with him initially. However, in 1546 Aruga Yasutoki sided with Kiso Yoshimasa and was destroyed by Takeda Shingen. Arugajō was then placed in the hands of Hara Toratane. In 1549 the Chino Clan were entrusted with the castle. By this time it had been considerably fortified.

Visit Notes

The ruins of Aruga Castle consist of four baileys climbing like a staircase up a mountain ridge to the fifth and final bailey, the shukuruwa (main bailey). The main and second bailey are separated by a deep trench and a multilayered trench system also extends beyond the shukuruwa, protecting it in the rear where it was most vulnerable. The main and second baileys are also surrounded by dorui (earth-piled) ramparts. The dorui at the rear of the shukuruwa is the largest and most impressive segement of all the earthworks, and it looms over a karabori (dry moat). Beneath the climbing stairway of baileys a yokobori (lateral trench) runs, and a tatebori (vertical trench) protects the exposed lower reaches of the shukuruwa. And so Arugajō has lots of the features typically associated with yamajiro (mountaintop castles), most of which were formed primarily from earthworks and making deft use of natural terrain. The start of the trail which leads to the castle site is marked by a reconstructed kabukimon (a type of simple gateway).

  • Horikiri (trench)
  • Nawabari Map
  • Main bailey

Castle Profile
English Name Aruga Castle
Japanese Name 有賀城
Alternate Names 天狗山城
Founder Aruga Clan
Year Founded 1220
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Hori, Kuruwa, Koshikuruwa, Dorui, Yokobori, Tatebori, reconstructed kabukimon
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Kami-Suwa Station on the Chuo Line; 70 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required One Hour
Location Suwa, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 1' 2.35" N, 138° 4' 51.02" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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