162.Izushi Castle/Arikoyama Castle Part2

There is only the rest station and the signboard on the main enclosure of Arikoyama Castle. However, the view from the top, about 300m above from the foot, is really breath taking view! The stone walls of the enclosure are what you saw from the foot.


Going to Arikoyama Castle Ruins through Shrine Approach

There are two castle ruins in the Izushi area as mentioned in the previous section, which are Izushi and Arikoyama Castles. The latter is older than the former, so I will first describe how to visit Arikoyama Castle Ruins in this article. The entrance to the ruins is now also that to Arikoyama Inari Shrine which is located at the highest of Izushi Castle Ruins. Therefore, you will climb the stone steps of the approach from the foot of the mountain to the shrine though many of its red shrine gates.

The approach to Arikoyama Inari Shrine

The map around the castle

You will also see several tiered enclosures of Izushi Castle with great stone walls and some restored buildings. The trail to the top starts from the point above the shrine building, so you need to prepare for hiking and something to keep you safe from wild animals (a bear bell or radio).

You can cee the Main Enclosure in the back and the Second Enclosure of Izushi Castle on the right
Arikoyama Inari Shrine
The starting poing ot the trail
Please beware of wild animals

Steep Slopes as Natural Hazzard

The trail is very steep and goes straight on a ridge of the mountain, which was a natural hazard of the castle. It gets a little flatter on the way, but zigzags and then becomes narrow over an earthen ditch instead. They are perhaps ruins of an artificial defensive gateway.

The steep slopes on the ridge
The spot where the trail is zigzagging
The narrow earthen bridge crossing the ditch
The ditch seen from above

After that, you will go on the steep trail again, which may be too tough for some castle visitors. However, you will eventually reach around the top area and the route turns right to go around. The castle ruins are made of soil so far, but you will see some remaining stone walls around. This is probably because there is the Well Enclosure below the trail, so the walls were built to protect the well from collapsing or being buried.

The trail becomes very steep again
The trail turns right and becomes flat
There is the Well Enclosure below the trail
The remaining stone walls above the well

Six tiered Enclosures on Top

The trail turns left and go up again to the main portion of the castle on the top. The portion has six tiered enclosures which are all surrounded by stone walls using natural or roughly processed stones. That means, these stone walls are an early example of those for castles, which were probably built by Takatora Todo.

The map of the main portion

Climbing to the main portion of the castle
You can see the stone walls of the main portion

In addition, if you go straight on the branched trail, you will get to the quarry for the stones.

You can get to the quarry of you go straight at division point
The ruins of the quarry

The enclosures are in line from the sixth enclosure on the bottom to the main enclosure on the top. Many of their stone walls were covered by wire nets to avoid from collapsing.

The stone walls of the sixth enclosure
The fifth enclosure on the left and the sixth enclosure on the right

There is only the rest station and the signboard on the main enclosure. However, the view of the Izushi area from the top, about 300m above from the foot, is really breath-taking view! The stone walls of the enclosure are what you saw from the foot.

Going from the second enclosure to the main enclosure
The top of the enclosure
A view from the enclosure
The stone walls of the enclosure

Very spacious Senjousiki Enclosure for top area

The Senjoshiki Enclosure is next to the main portion, which is separated by a huge artificial ditch. You can go there by passing the top of the forth enclosure. The enclosure is mostly made of soil, but very spacious for the top area of the mountain which was used as the lord’s residence or a station for large troops.

The path to the Senjoshiki Enclosure goes from the top of the fourth enclosure, the stone walls beide the path are the third enclosure’s
The huge ditch dividing the main and the Senjoshiki Enclosures
The top of the Senjoshiki Enclosure
The main enclosure seen from the Senjoshiki Enclosure

To be continued in “Izushi Castle/Arikoyama Castle Part3”
Back to “Izushi Castle/Arikoyama 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!