Nagisajō was built in the early 15th century by Ogasawara Nagahide as a fortified residence. Even though it is commonly referred to as a castle it seems to have been more akin to a yakata (fortified manor house). Nagahide was made Shugo (governor) of Shinano. The power of local feudal lords had been increasing and in 1400 the Battle of the Great Tower took place, in which Nagahide and his allies were defeated. The Great Tower (Ōtō) appears to refer to an old mountain castle in what is now Shinonoi. In 1405 Nagahide stepped down as Shugo. Even though the new Shugo was his brother, Shinano continued to be dominated by local lords. It is said that Nagisajō was built at this time. The Ogasawara, although they could not control all of Shinano, retained some control and would go on to expand their territory again during the Sengoku Period until their defeat by Takeda Shingen.
Nagisajō possesses no ruins, and the only evidence that a fortification ever existed here is to be found on a small stone slab erected beside the temple gate which explains about it. I went around the back of the temple too just to make doubly sure I wasn't missing anything, and there is cleared land here which once likely was part of the castle, now no doubt waiting to be developed over. I wouldn't have come here except I was passing right by it and thought, hey, it's a bonus; I was actually on my way to Inukaijō. The stone marker calls the fortification Nagisauchijō, but various online sources simply call it Nagisajō. The ’uchi’ in Nagisauchijō could simply refer to an inner part of a fort, perhaps? But I don't get the impression that this base was ever very big. ’Nagisa’ usually refers to the part of a shore where the tide breaks, but given that Matsumoto is nowhere near the coast I guess that the name is a reference to the water's edge of the nearby rivers which surround the site on three sides (the Narai River in the west and the Ta River in the East, splitting in the north). In this context ’Nagisauchi’ would mean something like ’between riversides’, a reference to its fortifiable position between waterways. Nagisa is also the name of this area in western central Matsumoto between the aforementioned rivers and there is also a Nagisa Station.
|Early 15th Century
|Pre Edo Period
|Nagisa Station on the Kamikouchi Line; walk 7 minutes
|Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
|36° 13' 53.36" N, 137° 57' 27.22" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited