Yamabuki Castle was constructed by the Kanasashi Clan as part of their network of fortifications in the area - which included Sakura Castle. The history of this clan and their battles is wrapped up in that of the Suwa Shrine Complex. To gain more than a superficial understanding one must disregard the modern history of "Suwa-taisha" and plunge into the complicated, extensive history which starts with the rites and customs peculiar to the district, going back to a time when gods literally walked on earth. With the rise of feudalism the Suwa shrines came to be land holders with their own armies and these castles were essential in controlling the territory, as well as in allowing the feuding branches of the Suwa Clan to gain ascendancy over the others.
Yamabukiôjō, "Big Yamabuki Castle", is paired with Yamabukikojō, "Little Yamabuki Castle". It is, of course, the larger of the two and located further up the mountain. The trail which leads to both castles begins from a mountain road and then forks off left and right. Yamabukiôjō is further away to the right. The ruins consist of dorui (earth-piled ramparts), karabori (dry moats) and horikiri (trenches), as well as several integral baileys. Yamabukiôjō's baileys are as follows: shukuruwa (main bailey), ninokuruwa (second bailey), higashi-kuruwa (east bailey), nishi-kuruwa (west bailey), kita-kuruwa (north bailey), and the deguruwa (projecting bailey), the latter two curving away to the west in the northern area of the castle. In addition there are many koshikuruwa (sub-baileys) which terrace the mountain slopes surrounding the castle, creating long, narrow enclosures beneath the integral baileys. Trace amounts of ishigaki (stone-piled ramparts) can be seen around the shukuruwa.
|Pre Edo Period
|trenches, stone walls
|Shimo-Suwa Station on the Chuo Line; 55 minute walk
|Shimo-Suwa, Nagano Prefecture
|36° 5' 28.54" N, 138° 5' 25.40" E
|Added to Jcastle
|Admin Year Visited