Saturday, June 13, 2020

Jindaiji Castle -Same plan and structural progress (1)-

Jindaiji Castle

-Same plan and structural progress (1)-



Name: Jindaiji castle (Jindaiji-jo)
Place: Jindaiji-Motomachi Chofu city, Tokyo
Location: 35.664445835118485, 139.55132228038545
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 1537
Remaining remnants: Clay walls and dry moats 

Brief History

Jindaiji castle (深大寺城) is built over the edge of Musashino height at the middle of current Chohu city central and Mitaka city central. The small height where castle exists is like a ship spread east and west, and its south line is separated by Nogawa-river, which is called as Kokubunji cliff line. On the other hand, its north shape is separated from main body of height from the valley formed by well and creek. 

Considering its isolation from the height and water source, it is an ideal place to build a castle. Opposite of the valley, Jindaiji temple, a temple of long history exist at the next height. Furthermore, castle site is at the middle of west route and middle route of Kamakura-Kaido road, which were medieval roads from Kamakura city toward current Gunma prefecture or Tochigi prefecture.

Except for its edge, Kanto plain does not have mountains suitable for building castles. Instead of this, there are long line of river terraces and coast terraces which were formed by rivers and sea digging Kanto Loam Formation. Many castles in the east half of Tokyo Metropolis were built utilizing these edge of terraces, including Edo Castle (Tokyo metropolis)  which does not seem so because of land reclamation and too much construction but clearly seen in an altitude map.

Origin of Jindaiji castle

The origin of Jindaiji castle is not clear but considering its geographical condition small fort might be built in early time of medieval era. In 1537, Tomosada Uesugi (1525-1546), the leader of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan, renovated old castle into his military base to keep the north riverside of Tama-gawa river.

Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan was a branch family of Uesugi clan, which served as Kanto Kanrei, the deputy minister of Kanto region next to Kamakura Kubo Highness. Kamakura Kubo Highness was a relative of Ashikaga clan which was the house of Muromachi Shogunate, and worked as its representative in Kanto region at Kamakura city.

Kanto Kanrei was placed for the purpose of support and deterrence to Kamakura Kubo Highness, which actually showed the attitude of independence from the Shogunate. In 1438, Mochiuji Ashikaga (1398-1439), the fourth Kamakura Kubo Highness opposed to Shogunate, then Norizane Uesugi (1410-1466) who was Kanto Kanrei at that time broke Mochiuji under the support of Shogunate at the battle of Eikyo.

Endless war in Kanto region

However, about 20 year s later, Shigeuji Ashikaga (1438?-1497), survived son of Mochiuji who took Kamakura Kubo Highness under the support of Uesugi clan, purged Norirtada Uesugi (1433-1455), the leader of Uesugi Clan and next Kanto Kanrei, and raised against Shogunate again,

This time Shogunate could not send reinforcement army well then the battle continued over 30 years. As Shogunate army captured Kamakura city, Shigeuji moved to Koga castle (Ibaraki prefecture) ahead of Tone-gawa river, thus Kanto region is divided into west half kept by Uesugi clan and east half managed by Koga Kubo renamed from Kamakura Kubo.

As Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan was a branch family from Yamanouchi Uesugi clan, the main family and monopoly served as Kanto Kanrei, they were treated as vanguards in the battle and many leaders died in them. Around this time Kageharu Nagao (1443-1514), a major retainer of Yamanouchi Uesugi clan, raised against their master for dissatisfaction of his treatment.

Rise and fall of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan with great general

During the conflict between Yamanouchi Uesugi clan and Kageharu Nagao, Dokan Ota (1432-1486), the chancellor of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan, broke local lords belonged to Kageharu Nagao then expanded the territory of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan around the south part of Musashi province (Tokyo metropolis and Saitama prefecture) between Tama-gawa river and Ara-kawa river.

Due to the activation of Dokan, Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan expanded its territory from their original one at east half of Sagami province (Kanagawa prefecture) to south part of Musashi province. But excellent strategy of Dokan and semi-independent like territory arose suspicion from his master Sadamasa Uesugi (1443-1494), and finally Dokan was assassinated at the residence of Sadamasa in 1486.

After the death of Dokan and fall of Kageharu Nagao. Yamanouchi Uesugi clan attacked Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan became too large, utilizing the opportunity of fall of their enemy and loss of Dokan. Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan had fewer army but well fought, thus the conflict of two Uesugi clan continued over near 20 years from 1487 to 1505.

Rise of Hojo clan as emerging force

However, Sozui Ise (1456-1519, later named as Soun Hojo), who seized Izu province (Izu peninsula) and became the warlord from a retainer of Imagawa clan, the governor of Suruga province (middle part of Shizuoka prefecture), entered into Kanto region as a reinforcement army of Yamanouchi Uesugi clan.

Soun Hojo at first captured Odawara castle (Kanagawa prefecture) from Omori clan, an important retainer of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan at the west part of Sagami province in 1495. Next Soun attacked Miura clan, another important retainer at east part of the province.

Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan sent reinforcement army to Miura clan but it was broken by Soun, and after three years battle finally Soun ruined Miura clan in 1516. Now Hojo clan captured whole part of Sagami province, the original territory of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan. 

Ujitsuna Hojo (1487-1541), the successor of Soun, next aimed south part of Musashi province, the remaining territory of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan. Now that things have come to this pass, Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan and Yamanouchi Uesugi clan allied to cope with challenger to ancient regime.

Defensive fort in desperate situation

In 1524, Ujitsuna intruded into Musashi province, then let Ota clan who protected Edo castle (Tokyo metropolis) leave from Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan and captured it. Further Ujitsuna captured Iwatsuki castle at the side of original Tone-gawa river, to separate Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan from its supporter Koga Kubo Highness.

Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan fell into a crisis made desperate resistance against Hojo clan. Tomooki Uesugi (1488-1537), the leader of the clan, asked assistance from surrounding warlords and fiercely fought with Uesugi clan aiming recovery of Edo castle. During win and lose of battles Uesugi clan recovered Iwatsuki castle and approached to Edo castle but could not regain it.

In 1537, Tomooki Uesugi died in ill and his successor Tomosada Uesugi (1525-1546) was still young. Facing the upset of the clan, to protect Hojo clan at the line of Tama-gawa river and separate the supply line to Edo castle, Tomosada renovated Jindaiji castle as a defense line against Hojo clan and built a road between Jindaiji castle and his main base Kawagoe castle (Saitama prefecture).

Structure of Jindaiji castle

Jindaiji castle had a typical plan of plateau edge castle, which places central area, secondary area and third area concentrically from the edge of the plateau. Central area of the castle is a rectangular one of about 80 meter long and 40 meter width, which has a main gate at its north line and backside gate at its south line.

The westward of central area faces secondary area is separated by line of clay wall and dry moat. At the side of main gate the was a basement of turret which had a shooting range of 270 degree because of projection but could not make side attack to the enemy approaches to the main gate. Backside of central area is protected by the line of terrace.

Secondary area at the west of central area is about 200 meter long and 50 meter width, which has slightly remaining remnants at its southeastern corner. Third area outside of secondary area is mostly lost but might be 400 meter long and 100 mete width. In spite of remaining small area, original size of the castle might be about 400 meter long, and this large size shows the strong will of Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan to protect the invasion of Hojo clan.

End of castle and its builder

But as Jindaiji castle existed at the middle of two Kamakura Kaido roads and did not work direct defense line, Ujitsuna Hojo detoured Jindaiji castle and directly attacked Kawagoe castle in 1537. Tomosada ran to remaining Musashi Matsuyama Castle (Saitama prefecture), then Kawagoe castle became an important fort of Hojo clan.

After that Hojo clan and Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan further conflict for nearly 10 years, but in 1546 Tomosada Uesugi and his ally encircled Kawagoe castle by overwhelming army but suffered fatal defeat at the night battle of Kawagoe, and Tomosada died in the battlefield then Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan ended its history. 

Now Hojo clan seized whole part between Tama-gawa river and Ara-kawa river, thus military importance of Jindaiji castle was lost any more. Its location at cliff edge was not suitable for local administration thus Jindaiji castle was disposed just after the battle and kept its original shape of short time life.

Now outer part had disappeared by construction of tennis court, shape of central area well remain and secondary area is roughly keeps its shape. It is not clear if simple structure and low height clay wall or dry moat compared with Katakura castle (Tokyo metropolis) which is said to resemble to Jindaiji castle stem from destruction or immaturity. Today castle site become a part of Jindaiji Botanical Park and use as a tourist spot of history and nature at suburb area, opposite from past tension period. 


Bus trip from JR East Chuo-sen line Mitaka station or Keio-Dentetsu line Chofu station to Jindaiji temple. 15 minutes drive from Chuo Jidoshado Expressway Chofu interchange to tall parking around Jindaiji temple.

Related Castles

Koga Castle -Castle disappeared into embankment-
Edo Castle (1) -Inner area built by talented general-
Kawagoe Castle -Place of great leap of Hojo clan-
Katakura Castle -Same plan and technical progress (2)-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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