Japan, 〒390-0873 Nagano Prefecture, Matsumoto, Marunouchi, ４−１
Matsumoto Castle (松本城 Matsumoto-jō) is one of four castles designated as "National Treasures of Japan" and the oldest castle donjon remaining in Japan. Its construction began in 1592 of the elegant black and white structure with its three turrets. Because of the elegant black walls, Matsumoto Castle is sometimes called "Crow Castle" (烏城 Karasu-jo). Inside the castle are steep stairs and low ceilings leading past displays of armor and weapons from the Sengoku period when the castle was built.
The narrow wooden windows, once used by archers and gunmen, provide amazing views of the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto City and the koi and swans circling in the moat below.
The most interesting part of the castle is the main donjon/keep (tenshukaku) completed in the late 16th century, and which maintains its original wooden interiors and external stonework. To enter you first pass through a separate minor keep called Inui Kotenshu (because it stands inui or northwest of the main tower) that from the outside appears to have three stories but actually has four, the hidden floor concealing defences.
Every summer Taiko Drum Festival and a Takigi Noh (a play performed by torch light) festivals are held at the site which is also famous for its cherry blossoms in April. A Moon Viewing Party is held every autumn on the grounds in the specially built moon viewing room of the Castle. It is said, that "the moon can be seen three times from the moon viewing room". Once in the sky, once in the water below and once in your cup of sake (but six if the sake is strong).
Regular admission to the castle is ¥610 for adults, ¥300 for children with discount available for large groups. The castle is open 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM daily (closed 29 Dec – 3 Jan). Tickets include admission to the city museum with artifacts documenting the history of Matsumoto.
Video by Supergenki Japan
How to find Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto castle is located only a fifteen minute walk north of Matsumoto station, on the JR Shinonoi Line and is easily reached by bus, car or train. Alternatively, the Town Sneaker Bus departs from in front of Matsumoto Station every 30 minutes and makes a circular trip to all city sights. It costs ¥190 each time you get off. It's four stops away from Shiojiri, the "mid-point" of the Chuo Main Line between Tokyo and Nagoya. There is a tourist information center inside the train station.
An easy way to find his way - The Map
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