Sugaya-yakata Castle (菅谷館)

Sugaya-yakata Castle was located in Obusuma-gun, Musashi Province (in the Kamakura period, present Ranzan-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama Prefecture). It was designated as a national historic site in 1973. Saitama Prefectural Historical Museum of Ranzan was built at the former castle site.


It is the remains of the residence of Shigetada HATAKEYAMA, known as a dominant gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura, Muromachi and Edo periods) in the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). The HATAKEYAMA clan was the shoji (sho-en estate keeper) of Hatakeyamano-sho Estate in Osato-gun since Shigetada's father, Shigeyoshi HATAKEYAMA, and Shigetada initially placed his residence within the estate. However, he later moved to Sugaya, a strategic spot along the Kamakura-kaido Road, which is the origin of this castle.

In 1205, Shigetada HATAKEYAMA died in a battle at Futamatagawa in Musashi Province (present Asahi Ward, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture). Subsequently, it is said that the castle was inherited by the descendents of Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA who inherited the family name of HATAKEYAMA, but the details until the later years of the 15th century are unknown.

In around 1488, the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family reconstructed the old castle at Sugaya to compete against Kawagoe-jo Castle of the Ogigayatsu-Uesugi family. From that point onwards to the first half of 16th century, it was used by the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family as its base. In 1488, the battle of Sugayahara broke out around this castle.

There are two theories regarding the fate of the castle after the battle: one that the Gohojo clan, who came and controlled this area after the night battle of Kawagoe in 1546, used it until around the end of the Sengoku period (period of warring states) and the other that the castle was abandoned before the Gohojo clan came to control the area. According to excavation results of the site, remains from the Gohojo clan era have not been found and it is highly possible that the castle was abandoned before the Gohojo clan came.

Geographical aspects and structures

The former residence was a hira-jiro (a castle built on flat land) located on a low plateau on the north side of where the Toki-gawa and Tsuki-gawa Rivers meet and the Kamitsumichi Kamakura-kaido Road (one of the three Kamakura-kaido Roads) ran near the residence (castle). A horizontally rectangular honmaru (the keep of the castle) was placed slightly to the south of the center of the castle site, with the ninomaru (second bailey) and the sannomaru (outer part of the castle) to the north of it. Each kuruwa-area (a space reserved for various purposes) was protected with mounds and moats. The remains of the mounds are in good condition and the features of hira-jiro castles in the modern times can be seen in the layout of the kuruwa (surrounding walls) and in the architecture of the mounds. The honmaru (main enclosure) retains the vestiges of a tankaku (single enclosure) style castle residence and is considered to have been the central part of Sugaya residence during the Kamakura period. It is a rare site of a castle residence from the medieval period and is well preserved.

Designation as a historical site

It was designated a national historical site on May 26, 1973 as The former site of Sugaya-yakata Castle. However, part of the former moat site on the eastern side remains undesignated because guidelines for designated area were not determined at that time.

In December of 1976, it was decided that Saitama Prefecture should manage the part of the eastern side moat site that remained undesignated in the 1973 designation, and that part was designated and added to the national historical site.

On March 28, 2008, a national historical site covering a wide area was newly designated as the 'Hiki-jo Castle Ruins,' comprised of the former Sugaya-yakata Castle site in addition to the former Matsuyama-jo Castle (Musashi Province) the Sugiyama-jo Castle and the Ogura-jo Castle (Musashi Province).


Oaza Sugaya, Ranzan-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama Prefecture


Approximately 13 minutes on foot from the west exit of the Musashi-Ranzan Station on the Tobu Tojo Main Line.

Approximately 10 minutes by car from the Higashi-Matsuyama interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway.

Approximately 10 minutes by car from the Ranzan-Ogawa interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway.

[Original Japanese]