Matsushiro CastleNagano City, Nagano Prefecture

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Matsushiro Castle DATA
Other nameKaizu Castle, Kaizu Castle, Nagano Castle
castle construction1560
address35 Matsushirodonomachi, Matsushiro-cho, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture
Access to Matsushiro Castle
Get off at JR Nagano Station and take the bus.

HISTORYMatsushiro Castle is said to have been built by Kansuke Yamamoto

Matsushiro Castle is a flat castle located in Matsushiro Town, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture. The castle is said to have been built by Kansuke Yamamoto, one of Takeda Shingen's five retainers. During the Edo period, it became the residence of the Sanada family, whose ancestor was Nobuyuki Sanada, the older brother of Yukimura Sanada (Shigenobu), one of the most popular military commanders of the Sengoku period. Let's unravel the history of Matsushiro Castle.

Matsushiro Castle during the Sengoku period
It is said that the entirety of Matsushiro Castle was a fort-like castle called Kaizu Castle. While Takeda Shingen attempted to invade Shinano and expanded his territory northward, Uesugi Kenshin, who ruled Echigo, hid the powerful clans that ruled the Hokushin region of Nagano. As a result of this, Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen became enemies, and the Battle of Kawanakajima was repeated over the control of the Hokushin/Kawanakajima region. Kaizu Castle is said to have been built by Kansuke Yamamoto as a base castle in the Kawanakajima area on the Takeda side. Kansuke Yamamoto is an Ashigaru general who is counted as one of Takeda Shingen's five vassals, which became the subject of a taiga drama.
Kaizu Castle, along with Tojo Castle and Amikazuka Castle, functioned as the front line against the Uesugi clan. During the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, there is a record that a vassal, Toratsuna Kasuga (Masanobu Kosaka), holed up in Kaizu Castle as a castle lord and waited for the arrival of the main Takeda army. Kaizu Castle also became a base for dominating the territory and people of the four districts of Kawanakajima.
When the Takeda clan was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga in 1582, a vassal of the Oda clan named Nagayoshi Mori ruled over the four counties of Nakajima on the Shinano River, including Kaizu Castle. It is said that he gathered the sons of Takeda retainers and other hostages from nearby villages and made them live in the castle town. However, in the same year, when the Honnoji Incident broke out and Oda Nobunaga was defeated, Mori Nagayoshi decided to abandon Shinano and retreated to Mino, taking some of the hostages who lived in Kaizu Castle. As a result, Kaizu Castle was temporarily uninhabited, but the Uesugi clan, who had invaded Shinano, entered the castle. Later, in the 3rd year of the Keicho era, Uesugi Kagekatsu moved to Aizu on the orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the four districts of Kawanakajima became Toyotomi Hideyoshi's warehousing land. Tamaru Naomasa was appointed as the lord of Kaizu Castle.
Matsushiro Castle in the Edo period
When the Battle of Sekigahara occurred in 1600, Tamaru Naomasa sided with the Western army. After the victory of the eastern army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tamura Naomasa was forced to leave the castle. Kaizu Castle was acquired by Mori Tadamasa for 137,500 koku on land connected to his older brother Mori Nagakasho. At the same time, the Toyotomi family's 90,000 koku land stock was abolished, and the land of Kaizu was renamed ``Matsushiro.'' At the same time, the name of the castle was changed to Matsushiro. From this time on, the castle owners and castle owners changed rapidly until Nobuyuki Sanada entered the castle in 1622. After that, the name was changed to Matsushiro Castle (present-day Matsushiro Castle), and the Sanada clan served as the castle's lord until the Meiji period. The Sanada clan tried to move merchants from Zenkoji Monzen-cho in present-day Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture to Matsushiro, but the merchants did not comply and Matsushiro never became the commercial center of Shinano. was.
In 1717, the Honmaru, Ninomaru, and Sannomaru were destroyed by fire, but they were rebuilt the following year with a loan of 10,000 ryo from the Shogunate. In the 2nd year of the Kyoho era, a major flood occurred in the Chikuma River and Saigawa River basins, and Matsushiro Castle was also damaged. In 1847, the Zenkoji Earthquake occurred, causing damage such as the main enclosure, Ninomaru, and Sannomaru enclosures, turrets, and guardhouses collapsing. As you can see, Matsushiro Castle regularly suffers from disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes, but each time it is rebuilt and replaced during the Meiji Restoration.
Matsushiro Castle after the Meiji period
In 1872, due to the Castle Abolition Order, Matsushiro Castle was demolished and the site was turned into a field. Hananomaru Palace, which was the residence of the castle lord's family, remained, but it was destroyed in a fire in 1873, and the site was leveled and turned into a residential area. In 1904, Yukimasa Sanada, the head of the Sanada family at the time, purchased the land that had been distributed to feudal retainers under the Castle Abandonment Ordinance and opened up the site of the main castle as an amusement park. In 1925, fountains and blackboards were also installed. After that, a public pool and playing field will be built on the Ninomaru site.
In 1951, the main enclosure was donated by Koji Sanada and became public land.
In 1981, part of the castle ruins centered around Maru and the new palace were designated as national historic sites. In 2004, the Taiko-mon gate, moat, stone walls, earthworks, etc. were restored. In 2006, it was designated as one of Japan's 100 Famous Castles.
The current Matsushiro Castle has a history museum that tells the history of the Sanada clan, and it still shows what Matsushiro Castle looked like in the Edo period. The Sanada family is the first lord of the Matsushiro domain, Nobuyuki Sanada's father Masayuki Sanada and his younger brother Nobushige Sanada are very popular, and many tourists visit the Matsushiro Castle ruins every year to remember them. In addition, Matsushiro Castle Ruins is known as a famous spot for cherry blossom viewing, and many locals as well as tourists visit the castle ruins park during the cherry blossom season.

Read about incidents related to Matsushiro Castle

Battle of KawanakajimaDestined rivals, Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin
Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, mortal rivals from the Sengoku period. The battle in which these two warlords clashed was the ``Battle of Kawanakajima'' for control of Kita-Shinano (northern Nagano Prefecture). We fought five times over 12 years, but in the end, no settlement was reached.
Battle of Kawanakajima

Read biographies related to Matsushiro Castle

Nobuyuki SanadaThe eldest son who protected the Sanada family
In the late Muromachi period, the period of war, also known as the Sengoku period, came to an end with the Tokugawa clan. After winning the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Edo Shogunate. He defeated the Toyotomi family left behind by Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Battle of Osaka Castle. Ieyasu in this battle of Osaka Castle
Nobuyuki Sanada

History of the Matsushiro clan, whose domain is Matsushiro Castle

Matsushiro domainThe Sanada family ruled for 250 years.
The Matsushiro domain was a domain that ruled over four counties on Kawanakajima in the northern part of Shinano Province. Matsushiro Castle was the domain office, and from the early Edo period until the Meiji Restoration, the Sanada family, famous for its 6-monsen family crest, served as the head of the clan. Let's unravel the history of the Matsushiro clan. Before the Sanada family rule
Matsushiro domain
Matsushiro Clan DATA
Domain officeMatsushiro Castle
old areaKaizu, Hanshina District, Shinano Province
stone height100,000 koku
main lordSanada family
Estimated population150,000 people (first year of the Meiji era)
Japanese Castle Photo Contest.03