38.Iwamura Castle Part2

The castle ruins are worth to climb


Long Trail to Top of Mountain

Today, the ruins of Iwamura Castle have been well developed for visitors. If you climb up from the foot to the top of the mountain, you can understand how strong the castle was. There is the partly restored Main Hall for the lord with the Drum Turret on the foot. From the foot, you will need to climb to the top for about 800 m long and about 170 meters high. Only stone walls and foundations of the castle remain on the mountain. However, if you have a smartphone, you can see the re-produced image using CG and hear the explanation (however only available in Japanese) at each signboard by scanning the QR code on it.

The starting point to the castle ruins

The map around the castle

An example of the re-produced images (around the Main Gate)

Lots of Gateway to protect Castle

The first part of your climb may be very tough because the trail is steep and it’s on a winding road which is as long as 500m, which is called Fijisaka. You will pass three defense points called Hatsu-mon Gate, Ichi-no-mon Gate and Toki-mon Gate before reaching the Main Gate Ruins. Enemies in the past must have also found it tough when they attacked the castle through the same route.

The long Fujisaka road
The past Hatsu-mon Gate drawn in the signboard at the site
The present Hatsu-mon Gate Ruins seen from above
The past Ichi-no-mon Gate drawn in the signboard at the site
The present Ichi-no-mon Gate Ruins
The past Toki-mon Gate drawn in the signboard at the site
The present Toki-mon Gate Ruins
The Toki-mon Gate Ruins seen from above

Main Gate, Pivot for Defense

The Main Gate was the pivot for the defense, which had a complex system protecting the castle. The Three-level Turret was built beside the gate, which was also the symbol of the castle. The current trail goes around to the left, but visitors in the past had to go across a bridge called the Tatami-bashi which went straight to the gate. The floor boards of the bridge could be removed like tatami mats (traditional mats in Japanese homes) if enemies were to attack. Moreover, visitors had to turn left on the bridge when they entered the gate. If visitors were enemies, they would have been stuck and counterattacked from the turret and gate.

The past around the Main Gate drawn in the signboard at the site
The present around the Main Gate Ruins
The current trail goes around to the left
The Tatami-bashi Bridge was built here

After passing the Main Gate Ruins, the trail becomes easier, and the area around it is relatively spacious. There used to be some warriors’ houses in the past. You will go though the area seeing the Hachiman Shrine Ruins on the left and the Kirigai Well which was said to never run out of water on the right. There were two routes in the past to reach the Main Enclosure on the top, the one from the Second Enclosure and the other from the Eastern Enclosure. However, the Second Enclosure is not well developed for visitors now, so most visitors usually go towards the Eastern Enclosure instead.

The ruins of the warriors’ houses
The Hachiman Shrine Ruins
The Kirigai Well
The Second Enclosure on the right

Six Tier Stone Walls, Highlight of Castle

One of the highlights of the castle is the Six Tier Stone Walls of the Main Enclosure beside the Eastern Enclosure. They look so great. In fact, these stone walls had originally been a single high stone walls, but the other tiers were added later to prevent them from collapsing. Other than that, the Main Enclosure is all surrounded by great stone walls, especially, the high stone walls on the western side are also so nice.

A front view of the Six Tier Stone Walls
A view of the Six Tier Stone Walls from the right side
A view from the top of the Six Tier Stone Walls
The high stone walls on the western side of the Main Enclosure

To be continued in “Iwamura Castle Part3”
Back to “Iwamura Castle Part1”

投稿者: Yuzo

城巡りが好きなYuzoです。日本には数万の城があったといわれています。その内の200名城を手始めにどんどん紹介していきます。 I'm Yuzo, I love visiting castles and ruins. It is said that there were tens of thousands castles in Japan. I will introduce you top 200 castles and ruins of them, and more!

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