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Travel Kori-Nishiyama Castle

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This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Kōri-Nishiyama Castle (桑折西山城 Kōri-Nishiyama-jō) is located in modern-day Koori (桑折町 Koori-machi) in Fukushima Prefecture. It was constructed by the Date clan in the Sengoku Period and was designated a National Historic Site in 1990.

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The Date clan derived from Isa Tomomune, later known as Date Tomomune (伊達朝宗, 1129-1199), a descendant of the Fujiwara. The name Date was taken from a local area in Mutsu Province, a land they were awarded for supporting Minamoto no Yoritomo. Later, they supported the Southern Court of Emperor Go-Daigo in the Nanboku-chō War and accompanied Kitabatake Akiie to Kyōto against Muromachi shogunate. Realising how weak the bakufu actually was, they pledged allegiance to the shōgun.

In 1532, Date Tanemune (伊達稙宗, 1488-1565), the shugō of Mutsu Province, moved from Yanagawa Castle to Kōri-Nishiyama Castle. Four years later, he enacted the Jinkaishū, the Date family code. 1542 saw the outbreak of the Tenbun War (天文の乱 Tenbun no ran): Tanemune intended to send his son Sanemoto to be adopted by the childless Uesugi Sadazane, the head of the Uesugi clan, a plan his first-born son and heir Date Harumune (伊達晴宗, 1519-1578) fiercely opposed. Supported by the Ashina and Sōma, Harumune prevailed over his father who was forced to retire in 1548. Harumune moved his seat to Yonezawa Castle but the conflict left the Date clan severely weakened.

Kōri-Nishiyama Castle is a mountain castle measuring 880 meters on its east-west axis and 570 meters from north to south. Mount Takadate where the castle is located is 193 metres high with the Ubukasawa River flowing east and north of the mountain. The castle consists of three enclosures; the main enclosure (honmaru), Nakadate and Nishidate.

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The map was based on Digital Japan Portal Web Site powered by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.

I reached the site from Koori Town passing under the tracks of the Tōhoku Shinkansen and the Tōhoku Expressway.

① Visitors should turn right here and enter the castle. As there was no parking lot on the site, I parked my car on the roadside.

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Although there were no signs, I followed the wheel tracks of other cars.

② Soon I arrived at the main gate which was surrounded by meadows.

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I looked up to the site of the main enclosure: bushes grew thick, and it was difficult to make out any remains.

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③ The site of the main enclosure (honmaru) - it's very large!

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④ The site of a artillery battery in the Meiji Period at the corner of the enclosure.

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⑤ Looking up to Nakadate and Nishidate enclosure: they were large, too. The castle must have been a vast complex.

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To my relief, I found some earthworks and a moat around Nishidate I need them for a "castle feel".

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I looked down at 'Date-gun', the land that had given the clan their name. The fertile grounds of the Fukushima Basin and river transport on the Abukuma River had contributed to the prosperity of the region.

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Date of visit: 10th August 2013

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Date Harumune (伊達晴宗, 1519-1578), the grandfather of the famous Data Masamune (Sendai City Museum).

Access Information


  • Address: Manshoji, Koori-machi, Date-gun, Fukushima (Map)
  • Transportation: To the entrance: 16-minute walk from JR Tohoku line Koori Station; 11km from Tohoku Expwy Fukushima-iizaka IC via Prefectural Route 124


Map:



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Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.

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