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Yamaga Shrine : 山家神社・真田神社

Important Junction for the Sanada Ninja

Eastern Nagano


One of the mountains held sacred by the Shugendo ascetic monks has historically been Mt. Azumaya above Ueda City. The pilgrimage trail to the mountaintop begins at Yamaga Shrine in Ueda’s Sanada district. Shugendo practitioners were one of the few groups of people permitted to travel across provincial borders. In the mid to late 1500s, the Sanada Clan, rulers of Ueda Castle, used their contacts among the Shugendo monks to spy on their samurai rivals in surrounding domains, with information gathering being one of the roles of ninja. According to the sign at the entrance, related documents and artifacts exist today in the Shrine’s storage.

The Sanada Clan was squeezed in between several competing warlords, with Uesugi Kenshin on the Sea of Japan side to the north, Takeda Shingen from the Mt. Fuji side to the south, and the Hojo Clan from east. Their land was stretched between Ueda City in present-day Nagano and Numata City in Gunma Prefectures, with the treacherous Torii Pass in the middle. Yamaga Shrine is situated on the walking road from Ueda Castle to Torii Pass, making it a critical junction. Finding out news of troop movements, castle construction, etc., from their ninja spies within the groups of traveling pilgrims was a matter of life or death for the Sanada Clan.


  • 10
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tel : +81(0)268-72-5700

Access / Location

By Train
From Ueda Station(JR Hokuriku(Nagano) Shinkansen), take the Sugadaira Kogen Line Bus to Sanada Bus Stop. Then walk 2 minutes.
By Car
From Ueda Sugadaira IC, 12 minutes (6 km)
4473 Sanadamachi Osa, Ueda 386-2201

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