Iwakiri-jo Castle (岩切城)

Iwakiji-jo Castle is a castle situated on a steep mountain in Iwakiri, Miyagino Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. It is also called Takamori-jo Castle because it is located on Mt. Takamori.

Location and Structure

The castle is situated on steep terrain, with an elevation of approximately 500m in the east and west, and approximately 400m in the north and south. The ridge of the 106m high Mt. Takamori was flattened into three or four steps and the central walls were created. Defenses was reinforced by the building of castle walls on each of the hills and plateaus that separate the plateaus and valleys of successive peaks, and the construction of ditches.


In ancient times, Iwakiri was located at the intersection of Oku-omichi Road which led to Taga-jo Castle, the kokufu (provincial office), in Mutsu province. It was located next to Taga-jo Castle, and was an important point in the transportation of Mutsu province. There were many markets in ancient Iwakiri, making it the largest commercial area in the Tohoku region.

The Mutsu Shogunfu (local government of Mutsu) was established in the early Northern and Southern Courts period when Emperor Go-Daigo dispatched his son - Imperial Prince Norinaga (who later became Emperor Go-Murakami), Mutsu no kami (the governor of Mutsu Province) Akiie KITABATAKE and others to Taga-jo Castle which served as the provincial office of Mutsu province. The representatives of the samurai in Tohoku region were Yukitomo DATE and Munehiro YUKI. In Kyoto, the Ou-gun Army fought against Takauji ASHIKAGA of the Northern Court faction and forced them to retreat to Kyushu. The Ou-gun Army went on to conduct a second expedition into the Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara). However, during this time, Kuniuji HATAKEYAMA - lord of Iwakiri-jo Castle and Oshu Kanrei (shogunal deputy of the northern regions), and Sadaie KIRA - who was also an Oshu Kanrei, attacked Taga-jo Castle as representatives of the Northern Court, and drove Imperial Prince Norinaga and his men from Taga-jo Castle to Ryozen in Date District, Fukushima Prefecture.

But at the Northern Court, an internal discord between Takauji ASHIKAGA and his younger brother Naoyoshi led to the Kanno Disturbance. Kuniuji HATAKEYAMA, who supported Takauji, fought Sadaie KIRA, who supported Naoyoshi, in the Battle of Iwakirijo. Kuniuji HATAKEYAMA was defeated by Sadaie KIRA, leading to the fall of Iwakiri-jo Castle. Kuniuji HATAKEYAMA committed suicide.

Takauji ASHIKAGA, who killed his brother Naoyoshi and was victorious in the Kanno Disturbance, held back the expedition into the Kinai region by Ou-gun Army from Ryozan, at Shirakawa, and recaptured Taga-jo Castle. Takauji retook Kyoto and Emperor Go-Daigo fled to Yoshino. Therefore the Ou regional regime based at the Taga provincial office completely collapsed. Emperor Go-Daigo ceded the imperial throne to Imperial Prince Norinaga at the time of his death.

From the Northern and Southern Courts period to the Muromachi and Sengoku (warring states) periods, Iwakiri-jo Castle was known as the residence of the Rusu clan. Its territory covered modern-day Iwakiri, Rifu-cho and Tagajo City. It is thought that the Rusu clan gradually maintained Iwakiri-jo Castle while they owned it.

Masamune DATE conquered the southern part of the Tohoku region at the end of the end of the Sengoku period. Masamune made his uncle, Masakage RUSU (Masakage DATE), lord of the castle.

Between 1570 and 1573, Masakage relocated to Rifu-jo Castle, and wakiri-jo Castle became abandoned.

Iwakiri-jo Castle was designated a national historical site and in August 1982, currently occupies part of the Kenmin no Mori Forest Park, and is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Sendai.



Iwakiri, Miyagino Ward, Sendai City
Kamiyasawa, Rifu-cho, Miyagi District


Alight at JR East Tohoku Main Line Iwakiri Station

[Original Japanese]