Shii Castle




Shiijō was the main residence of the Norisada-Suzuki Clan. The castellan was Suzuki Shigeuji. The Suzuki expanded from Yanami northeast up the Tomoe river valley and also built Asuke Castle. Shiijō was part of a group of fortifications in Norisada, roughly in the middle of this territory.

The Suzuki became vassals of the Matsudaira Clan, including Suzuki Masamitsu, a samurai who served Tokugawa Ieyasu in the Ôsaka campaigns but would go on to become a monk who pioneered his own style of Zen, Niō-Zen. Suzuki Masamitsu, later known as Suzuki Shōsan, emphasised practicing Buddhism by focusing on daily life and reconnecting religion with secular occupations, and therefore was regarded as a great teacher of Zen work ethic.

Shiijō was abandoned in 1590.

Visit Notes

Shiijō ('Chinkapin Castle') is a yamajiro (mountaintop castle) ruin in Norisada Township, Toyota Municipality. Ruins are chiefly earthworks, including kuruwa (baileys), horikiri (trenches) and tatebori (climbing trenches). The layout of the fort is complex and contains several integral baileys. I will describe the ruins sequentially as I came across them.

Climbing from the Suzuki Shōsan History Park, one sees that there are two easterly outer baileys with a large horikiri at either side. Probably there was a horikiri between each of these two east baileys too, but it was filled in for the erection of the cenotaph to Suzuki Shigeuji -- my guess; there is a tatebori below the ridge here so it stands to reason.

The main bailey contains a signboard about the castle. Beneath it has a koshikuruwa (sub-bailey) on the south side. It's easy to appreciate the castle's smoothly sculpted embankments from here. This koshikuruwa is very interesting because although it terraces the south side of the main bailey, it wraps around, via a horikiri, and terraces the north side of the eastern baileys, forming a straggling 'S'-shape which would've doubly exposed the attackers' flanks as the moved toward the main bailey. There are several tatebori on the south-facing side of the fort.

The western portion of the castle I also had fun exploring. There are several westerly baileys and the westernmost are separated by a dobashi (earthen bridge). The small ridges beneath here on the north-facing side of the castle are terraced. One spur has a horikiri and earthen bulwark forming a satisfying bowl-like shape. This wasn't clearly depicted on the map I was using so I was happy to have found it.


Castle Profile
English Name Shii Castle
Japanese Name 椎城
Founder Suzuki Shigeuji
Year Founded Sengoku Period
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Horikiri, Tatebori, Dorui, Kuruwa, &c.
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Toyota Ciy Bus; climb from Suzuki Shōsan History Park
Visitor Information 24/7 free; mountain
Time Required 60 minutes
Location Toyota, Aichi Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 6' 14.36" N, 137° 15' 8.68" E
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Added to Jcastle 2024
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed
Friends of JCastle
Jōkaku Hōrōki
Umoreta Kojō
Kojōshi Tanbō
Oshiro Tabi Nikki

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