Matsumoto Castle [松本城]
Matsumoto Castle in winter
Matsumoto Castle is one of the beautiful castles in Japan.
It is in the center of Matsumoto city and is located about 1 km northeast of JR Matsumoto station.
The castle was first built by Ogasawara Clan in 1504.
At that time, the castle was called "Fukashi Castle".
Matsumoto city is positioned right in the center of Nagano Prefecture, so this area was important place.
In 1550, a strong warlord Takeda Shingen invaded from current Yamanashi Prefecture, then this castle was occupied by him, and Ogasawara Clan had been expelled.
But Takeda Family was destroyed in 1582, so Ogasawara Clan came back this castle again.
At that time, the name of castle was changed to Matsumoto Castle.
And the current castle tower was built in 1594.
During Edo Period (1603-1867), this castle had been enhanced as the central base for the government of this area.
Matsumoto Castle in spring
Taikomon gate of Matsumoto Castle
After opening of new Meiji government in the 1870s, medieval castles were no longer needed.
So many castles in Japan were demolished in this period.
But the people in Matsumoto city hoped to preserve this castle.
Therefore, this castle was designated as a historical site in 1930, and was also designated a national treasure in 1936.
This castle is one of the only 12 Japanese castles that the original castle tower remains today.
Moat of Matsumoto Castle
Kuromon gate of Matsumoto Castle
Its black walls are unique and give us dignified impression.
Because of the black color, a nickname "Karasu-jo" (Crow Castle) has been given to this castle.
The main site of the castle is about 150 meters square, and is surrounded with moats 20 to 50 meters wide.
There is the resotored main gate Kuromon (黒門) at the south corner of the site.
in addition, there is another restored gate Taikomon (太鼓門) to the east of Kuromon gate.
The beautiful castle tower stands at the western corner of the site by the moat.
The castle tower has five buildings.
Main castle tower stands in the center and small castle tower stands just to the north.
Both castle towers are connected with a low building.
And the other two buildings are by the main castle.
The main castle tower has six stories and the height is about 30 meters.
And the small castle tower has four stories and the height is about 17 meters. We can take tour of the inside of the castle tower.
Inside of the castle tower
View from the castle tower
These are wooden buildings and the inside is a fort as military base.
Because it is an original building, there is no elevator and escalator.
Of course, the weapons and armors in those days and excavated remains are displayed as a museum.
How to get here
From Shinjuku to Matsumoto, by limited express of JR Chuo Line, about 2 hours and 40 minutes to 3 hours.
Or, from Nagoya to Matsumoto, by limited express of JR Chuo Line, about 2 hours.
From Matsumoto station, about 10 minutes by route bus, or about 20 minutes on foot.