“National Treasure” Castle of Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan

matsumoto castle

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.
matsumo

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).
matsumo
matsumo

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).
matsumo

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.

Inside are exhibit of weapons and uniforms used during the feudal era.
matsumo
matsumo

But the most noteworthy feature of Matsumoto Castle are the numerous small openings of defense called “Ishiotoshi”.

Ishiotoshi are small windows used for dropping stones on enemy who were attempting to scale the castle walls.
matsumo

The bigger windows with spaces of woods are used for firing (sama), arrow slits (yasama), or gun enplacements (tepposama).
matsumo
matsumo

The topmost part of the castle offers an outstanding view of Matsumoto City, serving an eye for the Shogunate for any activities surrounding the castle town.
matsumo

The castle ground with the red bridge, moat and pond makes the castle even more picturesque. It is also a favorite place for residence to enjoy a day out.
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo

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.
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo

While Nawate-dori marked by the frog structure and police station along the riverbanks is a good place for a coffee break and for some antique and used stuff hunting.
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo
matsumo

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.

10 thoughts on ““National Treasure” Castle of Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan

  1. I’ve been to a bit more than 100 Japanese castles, but Matsumoto Castle is still one of my favorites! ^___^
    I definitely want to visit again some day.

    When I was there, I had time to explore the surrounding are a bit and I remember that awesome frog statue! *g*

  2. One of the best original castles in Japan and one of my favourites. I would have it in my top 3 Japanese castles and I’ve seen quite a few. Looking forward to another visit one of these days 🙂

  3. What a beauty!. How much energy and expenses have gone into making this treasure, and maintain it on daily basis, I wonder. It is the culture of the country to preserve what they have, with utmost care?. A wonderful scenic place. thanks for the lovely photographs. Awesome.

  4. What a picturesque place! It looks really stunning, definitely an unforgettable experience. I think it’s really interesting how you can see the defenses that were used inside the castle. It really lets you look back on an older time and realize the thoughts and preparation that went into this building!

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