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nagano

  1. Matsushiro Castle

    Castle Matsushiro Castle

    Matsushiro Castle (松代城 Matsushiro-jō) is a "flatland castle" (平城 hirajiro) located in the south of the Nagano Basin, between two arms of Chikuma River. Fans of Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin might be more familiar with its moniker "Kaizu Castle" (海津城 Kaizu-jō). Shingen constructed Kaizu...
  2. Komoro Castle

    Castle Komoro Castle

    Komoro Castle (小諸城, Komoro-jō) is a hirayama-style castle located in Komoro, central Nagano Prefecture. It is unique as it is situated lower than the surrounding castle town. Komoro Castle is therefore known as Ana-jō (穴城, "Hole Castle"). The lowland along Chikuma River was fortified land...
  3. Tatsuoka Castle

    Castle Tatsuoka Castle

    Tatsuoka Castle (龍岡城 Tasuoka-jō) is located in Saku, Nagano Prefecture, and is the site of a pentagon-shaped bastion constructed in the Bakumatsu period, the final years of the Tokugawa shogunate. There are only two star-shaped fortresses in Japan, the other one being the Goryōkaku (五稜郭) Fort in...
  4. Taguchi Castle

    Castle Taguchi Castle

    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...
  5. Hiraga Clan Castle

    Castle Hiraga Clan Castle

    The Hiraga Clan Castle Site (平賀氏城跡 Hiraga-shi-jō seki) is located in Saku City, Nagano Prefecture. It was the residence of the local lord of the Saku district. At the end of the 12th century, Minamoto Moriyoshi, a son of Minamoto no Yoshimitsu (源義光, 1045-1127), became the lord of Hiraga Village...
  6. Uchiyama Castle

    Castle Uchiyama Castle

    Uchiyama Castle (内山城 Uchiyama-jō) is located in the mountains east of Saku City, Nagano Prefecture. The castle was most likely constructed in the early 16th century by the local Ōi (大井) clan who ruled the Saku district at that time. When Takeda Shingen (武田信玄, 1521-1573) invaded the Saku...
  7. Toishi Castle

    Castle Toishi Castle

    Toishi Castle (戸石城 or 砥石城) is located in modern-day Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture. The hilltop castle is known for being the location where Takeda Shingen (武田信玄, 1521-1573) suffered his greatest defeat, the "Toishi Rout" (砥石崩れ Toishikuzure). History It is not known when the castle was...
  8. Sanada Residence

    Castle Sanada Residence

    The Sanada Residence (真田氏館) was the headquarters of the Sanada clan before Ueda Castle was constructed. The site is located in the centre of Sanada Village, approximately 7 kilometres northeast of Ueda Castle. The village was also home to other hill-top castles, Toishi Castle or the Sanada Main...
  9. Ueda Castle

    Castle Ueda Castle

    Ueda Castle (上田城 Ueda-jō) is located in central Nagano Prefecture. It was the stronghold of the Sanada clan (真田氏 Sanada-shi) and withstood the onslaught of Tokugawa Ieyasu's armies twice. History Sanada Masayuki (真田安房守 昌幸, 1547-1611) built Ueda Castle along a branch of the Chikuma River in...
  10. Mike Cash

    Rest in Peace, Mars Man

    A dear friend and well respected and loved member of our JREF family, Mars Man, passed away December 18, 2015 at about 10:30 p.m. at the age of fifty-nine. While he hadn't been active with us for a couple of years, in the past he not only was a very active and valued contributor to discussions...
  11. Nagano Travel Guide

    Travel Nagano Travel Guide

    Nagano Prefecture (長野県) is located in central Honshū and borders the prefectures of Niigata, Gunma, Saitama, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, and Toyama. Nagano is one of only eight landlocked prefectures. The terrain is mostly mountainous. The principal ranges include the Hida (飛騨山脈), the Kiso...
  12. Matsumoto Castle

    Castle Matsumoto Castle

    Matsumoto Castle (松本城 Matsumoto-jō) is located in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, and is one of the most famous Japanese flatland castles (平城 hirashiro). It is also called “Crow Castle” (烏城 Karasu-jō) due to the dark outer walls of its keep and the roofs that resembled spreading wings. The...
  13. Matsumoto Travel Guide

    Travel Matsumoto Travel Guide

    Matsumoto (松本) is located in central Nagano Prefecture and used to be a provincial capital from the eighth century. It was the base of the senior branch of the Ogasawara clan (小笠原氏), the shugo (守護, military governors) of the Shinano Province during the fourteenth and the fifteenth century and...
  14. Kaichi School Museum

    Museum Kaichi School Museum

    In the wake of the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent drive to modernise the country, the newly founded Japanese Ministry of Education introduced a revised school system based strictly on the American model. Private Buddhist schools (寺子屋 terakoya, “temple schools”) were nationalised and...
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