128.Yogaiyama Castle Part2

The spot for hikers and history fans


Castle Ruins on Hiking course

Today, the ruins of Yogaiyama Castle are on a hiking course as well as a historical site in Kofu City. The top of the ruins on the mountain is about 250m above the starting point of the trail at the foot. Therefore, you need to prepare for a long hike or a grueling climb to visit the ruins, which takes over 30 minutes to reach the top. The first half of your tour will be a pure hike by climbing a natural zigzagging trail. You may see some stone walls along the route, but they were probably built after the castle period.

The entrance to the castle ruins
Were these stone walls built after the castle period?
The natural zigzagging trail

You will eventually find some signposts of Vertical Moat or Earthen Walls, which are around the entrance of the castle ruins. These actual ruins are partially covered with bushes, so you may not notice them without the signposts.

Around the entrance of the castle ruins
These ruins are partially covered with bushes

Original Gate Ruins along Trail

You will also find other ruins such as gates along the trail, however, the trail is not always on the original one. According to previous researches, the castle had 8 gates to reach the Main Enclosure on the top. As long as I checked, there are actually only 4 gate ruins with signposts along the current trail, which still look very defensive. I think they should be the original gates of No.2, No.3, No.6 and No.8.

The map around the castle

Getting close to the No.2 Gate Ruins
Here are the No.6 Gate Ruins

On the other hand, there are also other entrances of enclosures, which look like gate ruins without signposts. They are set straight in front of the enclosures, which mean not defensive, so may not be original and built later for hikers. If so, some original gate ruins (probably No.4, No.5 and No.7) are not on the current route probably because they are inconvenient for hikers.

This entrance seems to be not original

In addition, the No.1 gate ruins seem to be on the route, but without a signpost, which I didn’t notice.

I think this is around the N0.1 Gate Ruins as some stone walls remain

Who built Masugata System of this Castle?

Out of the 4 original gate ruins with signposts, No.2 (with the first signpost of Gate Ruins) and No.3 (with the second one) are so great. They are surrounded by stone walls, forming a square space, called Masugata. The trail also turns right to exit the gate, plus, other enclosures are in the back of the gate and ahead of the route. That meant the defenders would counterattack the front and side of the enemies in the Masugata.

The No.2 Gate Ruins, the trail turns right
The enclosure in the back of the gate
The enclosure ahead of the route.
The No.3 Gate Ruins, similar to the No.2 Gate Ruins
The trail turns right again

This structure is seen in other castles using high stone walls, which would be built much later than Yogaiyama Castle. However, it is not uncertain who built or improved this system. If the Takeda Clan built it, it would be very advanced, if Mitsuyasu Kato improved it, he would have applied it from other castles like Kofu Castle to Yogaiyama Castle.

The restored Yamanote-mon Gate of Kofu Castle which has the Masugata system
The miniature model of the Yamanote-mon Gate, exhibited in the Inari Turret of Kofu Castle

Main Enclosure, Largest one in Castle

The No.8 Gate Ruins are the entrance of the Main Enclosure. It is the largest enclosure in the castle on the top of the mountain, surrounded by thick earthen walls. There is only the stone monument for the birthplace of Shingen Takeda in it. There should be a good view point of Kofu city area, but unfortunately trees shut out the view.

The No.8 Gate Rums, the entrance of the Main Enclosure
The inside of the Mai Enclosure
The earthen walls surrounding the enclosure
The stone monument for the birthplace of Shingen Takeda
Unfortunately, this is not a good view point

To be continued in “Yogaiyama Castle Part3”
Back to “Yogaiyama 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!