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Kasugayama Castle Ruins are known as the site of the former castle of one of the most famous warriors of the Warring States period, Uesugi Kenshin.It has been designated as a national historic site and is also counted as one of Japan's 100 famous castles.Dates of construction for the castle are unclear, though it appears to have already existed during the Nanbokucho Era, some 600 years ago. However, the remains of the vast castle as seen today came later, and is thought to be due to the work of Uesugi Kenshin, Kagekatsu, and the Hori clan.The kanji character for castle is written with two elements, "earth," and "becoming." As such, Kasugayama Castle is truly an earthen castle. By skillfully using the complex topography of the land, the strong citadel was well known throughout Japan for being inpregnable.Even now, features such as the "Karabori" (empty moat carved by digging ridges in the soil), "Dorui" (embankments built up around the castle) and a "Oido" (great well) remain to be seen.Another major feature is the "Sougamae," a Japanese castle structure which surrounds the outer base for protection. At the foot of the mountain where the residences and empty moats were built, it extends some 1.2 kilometers around the castle.From the inner citade ("Honmaru") at 180 meters, visitors can enjoy a view of the Sea of Japan and the Kubikino Plains, as well as the surrounding mountain ranges.There is also a bronze statue of Uesugi Kenshin, which was produced during the broadcasting of the NHK period drama "Ten to Chi to" (Heaven and Earth) in 1969.* The position of the bronze statue is shown on the map.
Oma Castle Ruins
Oma Castle is said to have been built as a fortress for the clan of this area. The important characteristics of this castle is not its size, but rather its construction on difficult terrain with small ridges and creeks. The remaining features of the ruins are well-preserved, and are rare in the Joetsu region. You can see the enclosed earth foundation at the inner citadel, as well as spectaular empty moats and earth foundations that are representative of that era. Because it looks over the Kubiki plains, and is situated along the old national road ("Mikuni Kaido"), it played a crucial supporting role for Kasugayama Castle during the Warring States Era ("Sengoku Jidai"). Currently, these castle ruins have traces of wells, moats and foundations, and is commemorated as a Designated Historic Site of Joetsu City.
Naumine Castle Ruins
Naumine Castle was a castle of the Nanboku era (1335-1392), and was the home castle of the General Kazama Shinano Nokami Nobuaki.It is a typical mountain castle of the Middle Ages, with a height of 344 meters, making skillful use of the surrounding topography.During the Uesugi Kenshin Dynasty, it was an important way station between Kasugayama Castle and the Kanto region. Naoe Kanetsugu's real father, Higuchi Souemon Kanetoyo was master of this castle.Although the castle was abandoned during the Tokugawa era, the castle remains are still the site of a large empty moats ("kara hori") and defence walls ("kuruwa"), a 2 kilometer cobblestone road (formerly Mikuni Road) and other features remain. The ancient Zelkova tree said to be 800 years old seems to communicate the history of ages.