Kuma Castle

From Jcastle.info

Kuma12.jpg

History

Kuma Castle was built for the defense of Yogaisan Castle, which was the castle built to defend the Takeda's home castle of Tsutsujigasaki and to be a refuge during times of siege. The castle was abandoned with the demise of the Takeda.


Visit Notes

The best route to get here is via Yogaisan Castle. The trail is about a 30 minute walk past the end of Yogaisan Castle. It is a somewhat treacherous walk down a narrow ridge. There is no map nor trail. There are also bears around this mountain so you need to be careful. The site is quite interesting and fun in that it is a challenge but I can't recommend this castle to anyone unfamiliar with hiking Japanese mountains without trails or anyone hiking alone. Trekking pole, gloves, good hiking shoes and a bear bell are all required.
熊城に訪れるに要害山城を通って行くのが一番わかりやすいでしょう。それにしても地図も登山道もないのでよく調べてから行ってください。要害山城から行くとずっと下り坂なのである意味歩きやすいけれど、ちょっと危険な箇所もあります。熊もいる地域なので気をつけてください。あまり道がない山を歩くのに慣れていない人にはお勧めできません。行くときは必ず杖、手袋、登山靴、熊鈴を持って行ってください。


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Gallery
  • Main bailey stonework
  • Horikiri trench
  • Trail approaching the castle
  • Main bailey and stone wall remains
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Bailey
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Stone walls
  • Stone wall and embankment remains
  • Main bailey and stone wall remains
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Very fresh looking bear scratches
  • Stone wall and embankment remains
  • Small side bailey
  • Bailey
  • Stepped baileys
  • series of trenches
  • Large vertical trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Horikiri trench
  • Ridgeline
  • Hiking trail down.
  • Trail
  • Trail


Castle Profile
English Name Kuma Castle
Japanese Name 熊城
Founder Takeda Nobutora
Year Founded 1520
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features trenches, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Kofu Sta. (Chou Main line), 20 min bus to Sekisuiji Onsen; hike 120 mins
Visitor Information mountain trails, open any time; hike there via Yogaisan Castle
Time Required 90 mins
Location Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 42' 5.51" N, 138° 36' 5.44" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2017
Admin Year Visited 2017
Admin Visits March 18, 2017


2.50
(2 votes)
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ARTShogun

22 days ago
Score 0++

As far as descriptions on jcastle.info go, Kumajō would seem like quite a scary place to venture. Eric was just urging us to take proper precautions, but in my memory’s retelling it sort of sounded like...

“Kumajō. This site is dangerous. If you lose your footing you will fall down a ridge and die. If you do not have a bear bell you will get mauled by a bear and die. If you are inexperienced you will make a mistake and die. If you do not have all the right equipment you will die”. And so on.

I wasn’t the only one intimidated by this profile, but Eric actually assured us it wasn’t so bad, and I sort of realised that I had almost certainly been taking a much more a cavalier approach to my longevity in my adventures about Nagano which has some pretty gnarly mountainscapes even at their lower reaches.

Kumajō is not so bad really. The trail to Yōgaiyamajō is well developed and easy to use, but it does get more dicey thereafter. The trail which wraps around the base of the peak to connect the two ridges – Yōgaiyamajō and Kumajō are on parallel ridges – was during my visit covered in snow because it was a shady area where sun struggles to penetrate, and this made things tricky. Once I made the ridge where Kumajō sits though it was easier. Importantly one must however depart from the main trail at this point in order to take the ridgeline. There is no marked trail here, and one must just follow the ridge, keeping the ruins of Yōgaiyamajō on the opposite ridge to one’s right.

The most dangerous portion is the descent from Kumajō to the valley floor. It would, however, be possible to back-track to Yōgaiyamajō if one wanted to visit Kumajō without making the final perilous descent. This portion of the ridge appears to have been used as a stone quarry and there are several sheer drops overhanging rocky bottoms. Nearby there are lots of old terraced fields with stonewalls. One comes out from the mountain onto the former site of bukeyashiki (samurai residences), those of the retainers of the Takeda Clan. Here I saw and smelt plum blossom for the first time this year.

Kumajō itself is not so large but has some solid features, including deep trenches, baileys, stone wall remnants, earthen ramparts and unejōtatebori, a system of climbing trenches streaking down the mountainside. The unejōtatebori cover much of the south face of the castle mount. In exploring these I slipped into a natural mud chute, probably made by boars, and got myself and my camera quite dirty. Incidentally, if any of these pictures have impurities in them that’s the reason.
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ARTShogun

9 months ago
Score 0++
Thought I'd never make it here. Smashed it! Only fell in one trench. Unejoutatebori is very impressive and appears to cover much of the south-facing side.