After my travel in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, instead of heading back home, I stayed at the city of Matsumoto overnight and planned to take the bus back to Shinjuku the following day.
One particular agenda why anyone will choose to stop over at Matsumoto City is quite straightforward, that is to see and enter one of Japan’s National Treasure, the beautiful castle of Matsumoto (Matsumotojo).
Constructed in 1592 and distinguished by black and white exterior reason why it is sometimes called the “Crow Castle”, Matsumotojo has three turrets and four main section namely Inui-ko-tenshu (small northern tower), Watari-yagura (roofed passage), Tatsumi-tsuke-yagura (southern wing) and Tsukimi-yagura (moon-viewing room).
Unlike most castles in Japan which are strategically built at the hilltop or riverside for defense purpose, Matsumoto Castle is an exception since it is built on a flatland, with interconnecting wall, moats and gates acting as a form of defense.
For a fee of 600 Yen Adults and 300 Yen for students,the interior of the castle can be explored. Take note that you have to take your shoes off and be extra careful when you walk on the wooden floors and low ceilings.
But the most noteworthy feature of Matsumoto Castle are the numerous small openings of defense called “Ishiotoshi”.
Apart from the castle, Matsumoto is a city to enjoy.It combines the charm of an old and new, from the traditional white walls of merchant architecture of Nakamachi to the surrounding modern buildings nearby the JR station.
Matsumoto in general is an example of what you should expect for a city outside Tokyo. Clean air, green space, cultural and heritage sites, city worth exploring just to break away from the monotonous ambiance of the urban city from time to time.