Yashima Castle (Chiisagata)

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OgataYashimajou (1).JPG


It seems that Yashimajō was originally called Kitabayashijō after the Kitabayashi Clan which built and inhabited it. The Yashima Clan, a branch clan of the powerful Suwa tribe, however, came up from Suwa and conquered the area, expelling the Kitabayashi in 1335. The Yashima then built a residence beneath the castle, and probably re-worked the castle itself. The Yashima are attested as still present in the area by the Ôto Monogatari, a document written in 1400. The Yashima were likely subjugated by the Murakami in the Sengoku period and then later expelled along with them by the Takeda Clan.

Visit Notes

Yashimajō is easy to get to as it’s on a road just above the plain in the sort satoyama area which separates man and mountain. Surprisingly there’s some well preserved castle features here. There are two baileys situated on a promontory of rock earth overlooking the plain. A short terrace intercedes between the two baileys. What impressed me was the large earthworks at the rear of the site. The tongue of earth is quite wide but a karabori (dry moat) spans its width. Dorui (earthen ramparts) are piled above the karabori, and remain tall and imposing today. On the other side of a dobashi (earthen bridge) the karabori turns into a falling moat as it careens over the cliff side.

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  • Tatebori, Dobashi, Dorui, Karabori

Castle Profile
English Name Yashima Castle (Chiisagata)
Japanese Name 小県矢島城
Alternate Names 北林城
Founder Kitabayashi Clan
Year Founded Before 1335
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Dobashi, Dorui, Karabori, Tatebori, Kuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Ueda Station on the Shinano Railway; 42 minute walk
Visitor Information 24/7; Free; Fields
Time Required 20 minutes
Location Ueda, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 25' 5.59" N, 138° 14' 45.02" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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