Was this site a secret place for Takeda Shingen to escape to in the event that Kai was overran by enemies or rebels? It is also said that Shingen built an encampment here when he took this route (Ōme-Kaidō (青梅街道)) to attack Odawara. It seems in actual fact that this was a yashiki used by a magistrate of the Takeda Clan who oversaw gold mining operations in the mountains here. Many – what I call – ‘samurai prospectors’ called Kai home, and several clans that operated in the province’s border lands also looked for and mined precious metals. For example, see Yamanashi Nakamura Yashiki and the Kurokawa-Kinzanshū. The Kurokawa gold mine was located nearby to the yashiki. It was crucially important. The gold mines in this area funded the Takeda war machine. Kurokawa mine was founded in 1497; it is thought to have been one of the oldest gold mines in Kai. The Takeda mined it intensively for about six decades, during which time it is estimated that between 240,000 and 800,000 taels of gold were mined. Forced labour was acquired by Takeda forces after the brutal conquest of Saku, Shinano, in 1546, and many of the prisoners-slaves were forced to mine for gold in brutal, gulag-like conditions. See Shiga Castle for more information on the subjugation of Saku. In 1571 the samurai in charge of mining operations were deputised to perform various attacks for their participation in the attack on Fukazawa Castle in Suruga. Why take mining engineers to attack a castle? Tunnels were also dug in castle sieges to access aquifers and such.
Did a secret hideout of Takeda Shingen exist up here in the lonely mountains in between Kai and Musashi? There is very little information available on this site. I was principally following the blog of a researcher investigating gold mining sites along the Taba River. Since there is ishigaki (stone walls) here, I had to come and see for myself. The ishigaki is actually very well hidden as it is on a tall embankment directly above the gushing rapids which shimmer threateningly below! In order to get anywhere near them I had to stand on a dubious tree stump between two uninviting drops down to the river. There are several segments of ishigaki, but I got a look from both sides of the longest segment. The piling method did not strike me as medieval – could it be Edo period? Was it piled for the yashiki or for the road which used to run here? The area above was once presumably flat, but now it is sloped. When Tabayama Tunnel was excavated, obviating the need for the old road, all of the excavated earth was dumped here, altering the terrain from flat to sloped. Even now the old guardrail and some road signs can be seen knocked out of place and half buried here and there. The ishigaki and odd terrain asked more questions than it answered, so I also climbed the ridge just to be sure there were no signs of fortifications above. There was nothing that could not have been natural on that rocky ridge, however.
|Takeda Shingen; Kurokawa-Kinzanshū
|Pre Edo Period
|This site is accessed from the east side of Tabayama Tunnel, Route 411
|24/7 free; mountain
|Tabayama, Yamanashi Prefecture
|35° 47' 48.30" N, 138° 52' 43.07" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited