The Tōhara Clan were a branch of the Unno Clan. In the Kamakura Period they relocated from eastern Shinano to the Chikuma area and ruled Kawate-gō. Tōnoharajō was built as the clan's main base. In 1553 the Tōhara surrendered the castle to Takeda Shingen. In 1582 the Takeda Clan was destroyed and their lands in Nagano were split between the Uesugi Clan (coming from the north) and a resurgent Ogasawara Clan (coming from the south). The lords of Tōnoharajō conspired with the Furumaya of Koiwatake Castle and the Akazawa of Inakurajō to work with the Uesugi against the Ogasawara.In 1583 the Tōhara Clan were lured to Matsumoto Castle by Ogasawara Sadayoshi and murdered. At this time Tōnoharajō was attacked and burnt to the ground.
Starting at Akashina Station, the hike up from Unryūji, actually the Tōhara Clan's bodaiji (clan temple), was easier than I expected, and the snow helped make the leaves on the path less slippery, but it had the downside of melting on me. The snow was still powdering the castle ruins and the scenery was misty beautiful. Tōnoharajō is an interesting yamajiro (mountaintop castle) site with well defined earthworks. Stones are scattered about suggesting the use of ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts).
|English Name||Tounohara Castle|
|Year Founded||Kamakura Period|
|Castle Condition||Ruins only|
|Designations||Local Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Pre Edo Period|
|Artifacts||Dorui, Kuruwa, Horikiri, Koshikuruwa, Dobashi|
|Access||Akashina Station on the Shinonoi Line; 15 minute walk to trail head behind Unryuuji|
|Visitor Information||Free; 24/7; Mountain|
|Time Required||50 minutes|
|Location||Azumino, Nagano Prefecture|
|Coordinates||36° 20' 49.52" N, 137° 56' 5.21" E|
|Added to Jcastle||2020|
|Admin Year Visited||Viewer Contributed|