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Castle Taguchi Castle

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
Taguchi Castle (田口城 Taguchi-jō) is located in the Saku District of Nagano Prefecture and was the base of local Taguchi clan. The castle came under the rule of Takeda Shingen after his invasion into Saku in 1546. Taguchi Nagayoshi (田口長能) tried to resist the Takeda but was defeated in the Battle of Uedahara in 1548, which resulted in the demise of the Taguchi clan.

taguchi-castle01.jpg


In 1582, Yoda Nobushige (依田信蕃), a former retainer of the Takeda, became a vassal of Tokugawa Ieyasu and played an active part in the subjugation of Saku. He defeated Aegi Notonokami (阿江木能登守) and took over Taguchi Castle. However, Nobushige and his brother were killed in the attack of Iwao Castle in the next year. His son Takefukumaru (竹福丸) received the shogun's surname "Matsudaira" and the character of "Yasu" and was henceforth called Matsudaira Yasukuni (松平康国, 1570-1590).

The castle is located on a hill approximately half a kilometre northeast of the famous Tatsuoka Castle (龍岡城). Though I had not intended to visit this castle at that time, I heard of the magnificent view of Tatsuoka Castle from the site of Taguchi Castle and I decided to embark on the climb. There are many interesting sights to see on this mountain.

taguchi-castle02.jpg

The map is based on GSI Map by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. The location of enclosures is estimated.

① The tomb of Yoda Nobushige at Banshoin Temple (大梁山 蕃松院 Dairyōzan Banshōin) at the foot of the mountain.

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A stone wall behind Banshoin Temple. I assume there were more remains of the castle around there.

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② It was quite challenging to find my way up to the castle: there were no signs and all streets led to private residences. In the end, I was not able to find the route, and I took the picture below when I returned.

taguchi-castle05.jpg


It is easier to go right hand from the Goryōkaku de ai no yakata (五稜郭 であいの館) and instantly turn left when you see the tax accountant office. (See the map above)。

Also, as there were not any signboards on the route, I had to follow my instincts.

③ I began climbing and found scattered remains that seemed to be enclosures and stone walls.

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Having explored several castles around Saku, I understood that there are two types of mountain castles: one with their primary enclosures on the top of a steep hill (Toishi Castle or Katsurao Castle), the other covering an entire hill with a lot of enclosures that effectively turn it into a fortress, like Hiraga Castle or Taguchi Castle.

④ As can be seen on the map above, the ridge is relatively wide and flat and allowed for several enclosures arranged in succession.

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⑤ This was the top of the hill and presumably the site of the honmaru (本丸).

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⑥ There seems to be a trench on the east side.

taguchi-castle11.jpg


Date of visit: 13 October 2013

Access:

  • Address: Taguchi, Saku-shi, Nagano
  • Transport: 25-minute walk from JR Koumi Line (小海線) Usuda Station
    10km from Chūbu-Ōdan Expressway (中部横断自動車道) Saku-Minami Interchange via Prefectural Route 2
  • Parking: Goryokaku-Deaino-Yakata Parking (Spot 'P' on the map above)

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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