Isawa Castle was in Aterui’s Village, Ancestor Setting of Ashitaka in Gibri Anime Princess Mononoke.

Mysterious Area, Tohoku was Still a Land of Natives in Heian Period

胆沢城In ancient Japan, Honsyu (main island) was not completely a part of central government of Japan, Yamato Dynasty. The North part of Honshu, currently Tohoku, was undeveloped and mysterious zone from the dynasty’s view point. However, one of the nobilities claimed there were lots of natural resources out there, so the Emperor Kanmu ordered to conquer North. The troops did not have much knowledge of north area, so it was not easy journey.

Two Heroic Charctors of Heian, Aterui and Tamuramaro

アテルイWhere Isawa castle, there was a tribe leader Aterui. He was smart at tactics, and once defeated the government force. However, second time around he surrendered. Tamuramaro was one of commanders of the punitive force. After Aterui was captured, he was sent to Nara (the central government). Tamuramaro became a governor of Isawa Castle asked for saving Aterui’s life, but the government was afraid of Aterui, so he was executed.

Front-Line Bases 城柵-Jyosaku in Tohoku

胆沢城There are many ruins of bases in Tohoku area. There is Taga Castle in Sendai. Isawa Castle was built after Taga Castle. Shiwa Castle in Morioka, and northeast one is Tanzawa which is 50 km north from Isawa Castle. Those castle are not famous, but historically very important to understand how Yamato Dynasty gained supremacy over north Honshu. Where the native people went? Some says the natives escaped to north island Hokkaido and settled. May be Ainu (natives in Hokkaido) people are offsprings of Tohoku natives.

Chinjyufu Hachimangu Shrine was there since Isawa Castle

鎮守府八幡宮Chinjyufu Hachimangu Shrine is located in the north-east of Isawa Castle. This shrine would had been built as a guardian of the castle. It moving that this shrine was here when the castle was here. When Passing through the torii, the shrine filled in refreshing atmosphere.

Access to Isawa Castle from Tokyo

水沢駅From Tokyo take a shinkansen to “Ichinoseki” transfer to JR Tohokuhonsen desten to Morioka and then get off at Mizusawa. Take a bus to “県南免許センター kennan menkyo center” then get off the bus at “八幡神社前 hachiman ninja mae”.

Profile for Castle

Shibuta, Mizusawaku Sakurakawa, Ōshū-shi, Iwate Prefecture 023-0003
Name of Castle
Isawa Castle(胆沢城)
An ancient army base in Heian period when Japanese central government (Yamato Dynasty) trying to concur north part of Honshu.
Shibuta, Mizusawaku Sakurakawa, Ōshū-shi, Iwate Prefecture 023-0003


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