Site of Shinpu Castle

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Shinpu Castle once stood at the top of a small mountain at the southern tip of the Shichiriiwa Plateau, which extends from the border with Nagano Prefecture to the center of Nirasaki for about 30 kilometers from north to south. The castle was built by the feudal lord Takeda Katsuyori, who ruled Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi) from 1573 to 1582. After the death of his father, prominent lord Takeda Shingen, the younger Takeda managed to increase his territory, but he faced threats from powerful nearby warlords. Believing this position would be easier to defend than his father’s traditional stronghold in Kofu, Takeda moved to Shinpu Castle in 1581, while it was still under construction.

Unfortunately, the castle stood for only 68 days after Takeda moved there. In 1582, Takeda was forced to set fire to the castle and flee before an attack by the much larger army of Oda Nobunaga. Shortly afterwards, he killed himself at Mount Tenmokuzan, effectively ending the Takeda clan. Later, during the Battle of Tensho Jingo, which was fought between the Tokugawa and Hojo clans, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the future shogun of Japan, reused what remained of Shinpu Castle as his base. After that, the castle fell into ruin.

The moat and the embankment are some of the only parts of the castle that survive today. However, the secluded spot surrounded by trees is an ideal place for a peaceful walk. The wooden Shinpu Fujitake Shrine standing at the top of the stone staircase of about 250 steps from the foot of the mountain is popular for its abundant cherry blossoms in spring. Built long after the castle was destroyed, the Shinto shrine roughly marks the spot where Shinpu Castle’s inner citadel once stood. The site is both a link to Japan’s feudal past and a reminder of nature’s capacity for renewal.


Venue Address

407-0262 Nakajo-Ueno Shiroyama, Nakadamachi, Nirasaki-shi

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