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The era was when Oda Nobunaga was about to unify the whole country. There was a Jonin (a high-ranking ninja) called Momochi Sandayu (Momochi Tamba) who fought bravely in Tensho-iga-no-ran (the war of Tensho Iga) which involved the ninja of Iga between 1578 and 1581. He built a fortress in Hojiro, a land of Iga; he was regarded as one of major three Jonin along with Hattori and Fujibayashi families, and was an influential figure in Iga.
In the novel “Shinobi-no-kuni,” the fortress where Momochi Sandayu lived is described as follows.
“Mumon, who departed Heirakuji, walked eastside along Kume River as he viewed the wheat field that was just starting to sprout to return to the village of Hojiro.
…This is where Momochi Sandayu’s fortress, dubbed “Momochi Fortress” is built. As if to ascend the mountain slope, the main quarter, second quarter, and third quarter are aligned. This is a huge fortress compared to other fortresses in Iga. There is a pond that exceeds the size of one-tenth hectare paddy field, beside the main quarter covered with earthwork that looks like a high barrier. This is Marugata Pond, where Iga’s low-class ninja like Mumon were trained. “
Quote: Shinobi-no-kuni (Ryu Wada, published by Shinchosha)
Because Mumon is a low-class ninja who belonged to Momochi family, it can be said that he was stationed at this Momochi Fortress. You will be surprised to know that Momochi Fortress still exists in quite a good condition in the land of Iga.
I drove from Iga Ueno Castle about 12 km and arrived at Hojiro, Iga-shi. The whole site is surrounded by paddy fields, creating such a serene landscape. Anyhow, this used to be the site where one of the big three high-ranking ninja that any ninja would adore once lived…!
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