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Castle Tsutsujigasaki Residence

This article is in the series Walking the Japanese Castles
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The Tsutsujigasaki Residence (躑躅ヶ崎館 Tsutsuji-ga-saki Yakata) was the residence of the Takeda clan. In 1519, Takeda Nobutora (武田信虎, 1494-1574), the father of the famous Shingen, transferred his base from Isawa to Tsutsujigasaki. After that, Shingen (武田信玄, 1521-1573) and Nobutora's grandson Katsuyori (武田 勝頼, 1546-1582) also used it as their base. The area around the residence prospered as the political, economic, and cultural centre of Kai Province. The entire complex was consumed by fire in 1543. In 1581, Takeda Katsuyori moved the Takeda headquarters to Shinpu Castle (新府城 in modern-day Nirasaki City), but after the Takeda clan's demise, the fortress served as the foothold to rule Kai until Kofu Castle was built in 1600.

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The residence consists of the main enclosure measuring approximately 200 metres in length on each side and some smaller enclosures around it.

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The map is based on Google Earth. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

Although I usually visit castles by car, I relied on public transportations that day. I got on a bus bound for Takeda Shrine from JR Kofu Station. If you come by car, there are parking lots for visitors.

① Entering the main enclosure at Takeda Shrine from the main bridge

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There were lots of visitor at the shrine. The remnants of the former fortress are all located around the shrine.

The main enclosure was surrounded by earthworks and moats.

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② East entrance was a former Ote-mon (main gate).

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③ On the east side of Otemon, the restoration of the castle structures was underway.

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④ It was Tsutsujigasaki Hill which gave its name to the residence.

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⑤ Then I explored the Western enclosure.

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At the northern side of the West enclosure, Koguchi (entrance of the castle, literally "tiger mouth") has been partially reconstructed.

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There was a renovated bridge made of barren soil which looked impressive.

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Japanese castles were usually constructed at impregnable points like near to a wide river or a swamp. This castle, however, was different. I guess the reason why Shingen never transferred his base to a stronger manor is that he regarded the mountainous Kai Province itself as a huge fortress and the residence as a part of it.

Date of visit: 17 August 2013

Postscript

Once I stated that the defence of the residence was poor. However, I became aware that my recognition had been wrong when I visited for the second time. Looking around the residence, we found out that it was an impregnable place surrounded by mountains. Actually, it was located at the northern edge of Kōfu Basin and several castles were built around the residence; Ichijō-Koyama (later Kōfu Castle) in the south, Yumurayama Castle in the west and Yogai Castle which was a last refuge in the north-east. Therefore I consider Tsutsujigasaki Residence and those castles together composed a strong line of fortification.

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Access Information

  • Address: Kofuchu-machi, Kofu-shi, Yamanashi
  • Transportation: a 20-minute walk from JR Chuo Line Kofu Station.
    The bus bound for Takeda Shrine from JR Chuo Line Kofu Station
    8 kilometres from Chuo Expressway Kofu-Showa Interchange via Prefectural Route 31
Next article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Yogai Castle
Previous article in the series 'Walking the Japanese Castles': Kori-Nishiyama Castle
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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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Hiroto Uehara
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躑躅ヶ崎館

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