Nishijou Castle (Chikuma)

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ChikumaNishijoujou (3).JPG


The Onikuma Clan protected Nishijōjō. See Chikuma Higashijou Castle and Aoyagi Castle for more information.

Visit Notes

The trail to the ruins of Nishijōjō begin at the top of a small road which dips beneath the motorway. It's easy enough to follow the trail once one finds it. It is to the left of a pass through the ridge. Another trail which becomes a footpath before it goes beneath the motorway and ascends is located in Onikuma village. I'd recommend going down the Onikuma way and not up since it is much steeper with a difficult path and many hairpins.

The first ruins one sees of Nishijōjō coming from the rear are a series of tripple trenches at a right angle to the castle proper which protect a westerly ridge. Nishijōjō ("West District Castle") is twinned with Higashijōjō ("East District Castle") on the other side of the valley and so the defence is orientated facing away from the valley. The castle proper is made up of six integral baileys which line the ridge running north-south. There is terracing beneath the topmost shukuruwa (main bailey), also west-facing, but it was too overgrown for me to explore down there. Much of the castle is covered in young bamboo, but the path winds its way through. The baileys basically work their way down from the shukuruwa in stair-like fashion, with the exception that the third bailey, having its own small peak, is wholly surrounded by the fourth bar on the east-facing cliff face. At the bottom of this fortified stairway a respectably deep trench was dug. The trail out of the castle ruin can be found here. The trench itself is probably the most significant feature of the castle, along with the tripple trench system mentioned above.

  • Hori / trench in profile at the end of the castle ruins

Castle Profile
English Name Nishijou Castle (Chikuma)
Japanese Name 筑摩西條城
Founder Aoyagi Clan; Onikuma Clan
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Horikiri, Kuruwa, Koshikuruwa
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Nishijō Station on the Shinonoi Line; 20 minute walk to trailhead
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Chikuhoku, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 36° 24' 11.63" N, 137° 59' 55.57" E
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Added to Jcastle 2021
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
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