Ryugasaki Castle (Ina)

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According to the Suwa Gofusatsu no Kosho, dating to 1487, Ryūgasakijō was built by Suwa Tsugimune of Takatô. In 1464 another document also mentions the castle as being in vicinity of Miyadokoro-gō, a township closely alligned to the powerful religio-political Suwa Clan. It is transcribed as 「りうか崎城」 Riukasakijō, but this would've been read as Ryūgasakijō. Japanese phonetic script at that time did not have the niceties of such things as smaller kana or even dakuten. Although written in kana, the name is thought to reference a sleeping dragon due to the shape of the castle mount. The mountain was likely chose as a site for a fortification due to its easy-to-defend terrain; it is bordered by two rivers which join up near its base, and beyond a large mountain system looms. Furthermore, it is at the tip of the Ina Valley, granting great views down much of its upper length. Ryūgasakijō's kyokan (residential area) was located in a flat space at the foot of the mountain. This was also the site of a Suwa Shrine.

Visit Notes

Ryūgasakijō is the ruins of an earthworks yamajiro (mountaintop castle) on a small mountain near the town of Tatsuno. There are some very nice shapes sculpted into the mountain here and the entire main bailey is surrounded by dorui (earthen ramparts). Terracing, trenchwork, and sub-baileys are also clearly identifiable. There is a depression between three pines in an auxiliary bailey which I took for the remains of a well. Trenches run between the baileys and the trench at the rear of the main bailey is particularly deep. I walked beyond here and further found some smaller trenches.


Castle Profile
English Name Ryugasaki Castle (Ina)
Japanese Name 伊那龍ヶ崎城
Founder Suwa Tsugimune
Year Founded Medieval Era
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Karabori, Dorui, Kuruwa, Koshikuruwa, Horikiri, Kyokan-ato
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Tatsuno Station on the Chuo Main Line; 20 minute walk
Visitor Information Free; 24/7; Mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Tatsuno, Nagano Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 59' 23.28" N, 137° 58' 36.88" E
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Added to Jcastle 2020
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Shingen Travel

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