Saturday, October 25, 2014

Yasuda Castle -Well preserved temporary military base-

Yasuda Castle (Toyama prefecture)

-Well preserved temporary military base-



Name: Yasuda castle (Yasuda-jo)
Place: Fuchu-cho Toyama city, Toyama
Location: 36.68004763008024, 137.1609357240836
Type: Flat Castle
Built: Originally unknown, expanded at 1585
Remaining remnants: Clay walls and water moats 

Brief History

Yasuda castle (安田城) is located at western riverside of Idagawa river, a tributary of Zinzugawa river. The site of the castle is just the side of Kureha hills, which divides Ecchu province (Toyama prefecture) into Toyama area and Takaoka area.

Build and expansion of Yasuda castle

It is thought that there had been a castle of local lord from medieval era. In 16th century, among the battle between Jinbou clan, Uesugi clan or Ikko Ikki rebellion, Shiratori castle (Toyama prefecture) was built at 5 kilometer north from Yasuda castle, at the top of Kureha hill. Shiratori castle was used as a guarding point of Toyama castle toward west, and also as a evacuation place.

In 1585, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1534-1598), the central ruler, advanced to Toyama plain with large army to beat Narimasa Sasa (1536-1588), the lord of Toyama castle. As Kureha hills is just 5 kilometer away from Toyama castle (Toyama prefecture) and can look down Toyama castle, the main body of Hideyoshi army stationed at Shiratori castle at the hill. 

As Yasuda castle was close to Kureha hill and directly faced the river, the castle was expanded as a temporary military fort of Toyotomi army. The purpose of such temporary military fort was 1) safe residence of commander, 2) preparation for sudden attack of enemy and 3) safe store of supplies, and this castle was build to cope with such purpose. Even though small and inconspicuous, these castles were important to keep front.

Complete style of temporary military base

Yasuda castle consist of three areas, it mean central area, secondary area and right side  area. The shape of central area is about 80 meter square, and surrounded by 2 meter height clay walls. Considering the shape and its security, it was built as a space for high class commander.

The central area only connected to secondary area, which is about 50 meter square and also connected to right area and outer area only by narrow path. The secondary area is flat and might be used as a storage. At the west of central area there is a right side area which is a long and thin shape.

As westward of the castle was expected attacking side (other sides are covered by rivers or damps), it might work as a buffer zone to resist to the attack. Total size of the castle including water moat is over 200 meter length and 150 meter width, and it is quite large for temporary military base and equivalent to permanent castle.

Afterward of castle

At the time of expedition against Narimasa Sasa, Yasuda castle was protected by Kazuyoshi Okajima, a commander under Toshiie Maeda (1539-1599). But facing overwhelming Hideyoshi army, Narimasa surrendered without battle in one week, and Yasuda castle was not actually used.

After the battle Ecchu province was given to Toshiie, and his magistrate stayed at Yasuda castle. But later this magistrate returned to Kanazawa castle, the residence of Maeda clan, and Yasuda castle was abolished.

Usually this kind of temporary military base in plain area disappeared after abolition because they usually were built by clay walls which was each to break. But Yasuda castle miraculously kept its shape, because it was temporally used by Maeda clan, the lord of this area. Functional shape of this castle shows the complete style of temporary military base, along with its suitable location.


20 minutes walk from JR West Toyama-Honsen line Fuchu-Usaka station. 15 minutes drive from Hokuriku Jidoshado Expressway Toyama-Minami interchange.

Related Castles

Toyama Castle -Man of pride and honor resisted to ruler-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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