The remains of Kozukue Castle (小机城 Kozukue-jō) are located in present-day Kōhoku Ward, Yokohama. The castle was thought to be built by the Uesugi clan during the Eikyō Rebellion (永享の乱 Eikyō-no-ran) in 1438/39. The Uesugi were a powerful samurai family that descended from the Fujiwara, and that was most influential during the Muromachi and the Sengoku periods, holding the positions of shugo (守護, provincial governors) and Kantō kanrei (関東管領, deputies of the shōgun in the Kantō region) until 1552.
Later, in 1478, the castle re-entered the spotlight of history when Nagao Kageharu (長尾景春, 1443-1514), a vassal of the Yamanouchi Uesugi clan, rebelled against his lord in what is known as the Kyōtoku Incident (享徳の乱, Kyōtoku-no-ran), a series of skirmishes between the Ashikaga and the Uesugi. The Toshima clan who sided with Kageharu held the castle but were eventually defeated by Kageharu's arch-rival Ōta Dōkan (太田 道灌, 1432-1486). Although suppressed, Kageharu's rebellion contributed to the weakening of the Uesugi and paved the way for Hōjō Sōun(北条早雲) to establish hegemony in the Kantō region. The abandoned Kozukue Castle was taken over by the Hōjō in 1524 and played an essential role as a strategic point of military and economic interest until Tokugawa Ieyasu entered Edo.
I set out to the site of the former castle from Kozukue Station. The castle hill was well visible from afar. Kozukue Castle was located at the tip of a tongue-shaped plateau facing Tsurumi River to the north.
This map is based on Tokyo Terrain Map powered by gridscapes.net.
It took more than ten minutes to reach the entrance of the castle. The area is now designated the “Kozukue Castle Citizens' Forest” (小机城址市民の森).
The bamboo forest on the hill where Kozuke Castle was situated was very scenic.
The inner bailey (本丸 Honmaru) and the second enclosure (二の丸 Ni-no-maru), as well as earthworks and dry moats around the castle grounds, are well preserved.
There was a large open space at the location of the former second enclosure.
A picture of the inner bailey, where boys were playing baseball.
It was disappointing to see that Daisan-Keihin Expressway runs right through the site of the former castle.
Most certainly none of the drivers was aware that they were cutting through a Sengoku-era castle site and a former battlefield.
Passing under the expressway, I turned west. There were some more remains to be explored.
The view of former Kozukue Castle.
Date of visit: 26 May 2013
- Address Kozukue-cho, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Map
- Transportation 12 minutes from JR Yokohama line Kozukue station on foot
- Kozuke Castle Citizens' Forest
- Ancient Samurais’ Dreams: Kozukue-johshi Citizen Forest 小机城址市民の森
- 小机城 (detailed description of the castle site published by Komazawa University)