Matsusaka city [松阪]

Matsusaka Castle in spring
Matsusaka Castle in spring
Photo by Matsusaka City

Matsusaka beef
Matsusaka beef
Photo by Matsusaka City

Matsusaka is a city located roughly in the center of Mie Prefecture.
Because "Matsusaka" is a bit difficult to pronounce, the local people often pronounce as "Mattsaka" or "Massaka".

It is located about 80 km south of Nagoya and about 20 km northwest of Ise city.

In 1588, Matsusaka Castle was built by Gamou Ujisato (1556-1595), a warlord.
Then this city developed as the castle town.

Especially he invited good merchants from all over the country, and commerce had been developed in Matsusaka.
Because this area was in Ise Province at that time, the merchants were "Ise merchants".

So, Matsusaka produced excellent merchants.

Mitsui Takatoshi (1622-1694) opened a Kimono shop in Edo (curreent Tokyo) in 1673, and the shop became current Mitsukoshi, one of the major department stores in Japan.

Hasegawa family opened a cotton shop in Edo in 1635, and made a fortune in the 17th century.
They became a millionaire in the 18th century, and built the residence in Matsusaka of their hometown.

In additon, Matsusaka produced a scholar of old Japanese literatures, Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801). (His main positon was a medical doctor.)

Particularly, his "Kojiki-den" in 1790 is very famous.

It is the commentary of Kojiki, the old Japanese history book written in the 8th century, and it continues to be the authoritative book for the scholars of ancient culture, even now.

Most of Japanese people know Matsusaka as the city of Matsusaka beef.

It is the high-class beef in Japan, along with Kobe beef.
It is produced only in the central area of Mie Prefecture around Matsusaka city.

There are many restaurants serving Matsusaka beef in the city.
Of course, the dishes are expensive, but you should not miss the opportunity to taste genuine Natsusaka beef.

When you visit Matsusaka, you can use the guided tour of Matsusaka city.

Explanation of Application for Guided Tour of Matsusaka city

Ruin of Matsusaka Castle (松阪城跡)

Entrance to Matsusaka Castle
Entrance to Matsusaka Castle
Photo by Railstation.net

Ruin of castle tower of Matsusaka Castle
Ruin of castle tower
Photo by Railstation.net

Map of Matsusaka

Matsusaka Castle existed from 1588 to the 1870s.
The ruin is located about 1 km west of Matsusaka station.

The castle was built by Gamou Ujisato, and was ababdoned in 1871 after the end of feudal Edo Period.

The original castle tower had three stories and the size was big.

But it was destroyed by huge typhoon in 1644.
After that, the castle tower was not constructed.

A main palace was also destroyed by fire in 1877, and the other constructions had been demolished by 1881.

Now the site is a park, and the stone walls of the castle remain.
The stone walls had been build by heaping up many stones strongly, and the figure is beautiful.

Gojoban-yashiki (御城番屋敷)

Gojoban-yashiki
Gojoban-yashiki
Photo by Matsusaka City

A room in Gojoban-yashiki
A room in Gojoban-yashiki
Photo by Railstation.net

Gojoban-yashiki is the houses for the samurais to guard the castle.
They are just to the south of Matsusaka castle.

Along a street, there are 19 small houses built in 1863.

In five houses of them, the descendants of the samurai are living even now.
And, twelve of them are rented houses, and one of them are opened for the public.

House of Motoori Norinaga (本居宣長旧宅)

House of Motoori Norinaga
House of Motoori Norinaga
Photo by Railstation.net

Inside of House of Motoori Norinaga
Inside of House of Motoori Norinaga
Photo by Railstation.net

House of Motoori Norinaga is the house where Motoori Norinaga was lived from 12 to 72 years old, and it was built in 1691.

Now, it is in the site of Matsusaka Castle.
It was moved there from the original place in the city in 1909.

There was his study room on the second story.
He was a small bell collecter, so he named the room "Suzunoya". (Suzu means small bell.)

Next to the house, there is the museum about him.
Many of the housing articles are designated as a nationally important cultural properties.

Old residences of the merchants

The residences of the merchants remain in Matsusaka city.

Former Hasegawa Residence
Former Hasegawa Residence
Photo by Matsusaka City

Inside of Former Hasegawa Residence
Inside of Former Hasegawa Residence
Photo by Matsusaka City

Former Hasegawa Residence (旧長谷川治郎兵衛家) is located about 400 meters northeast of Matsusaka castle.

It is the residence of Hasegawa family, and was built in the 17th century.
The house is well preserved and is open to the public from 2019.

A lot of articles of this family are displayed and we can see the large Japanese garden.

Residence of Matsusaka merchant
Residence of Matsusaka merchant
Photo by Matsusaka City

Inside of Residence of Matsusaka merchant
Inside of FResidence of Matsusaka merchant
Photo by Matsusaka City

Former Ozu Residence (旧小津清左衛門家) is located about 200 meters north of Hasegawa Residence.
It is also called Residence of Matsusaka merchant (松阪商人の館).

Ozu family was also an excellent merchant of papers and cottons, and became a millionaire in Edo.

We can see a chest in which countless gold coins had been filled.

Restaurants of Matsusaka beef

Sukiyaki in Wadakin

Beef steak roasted on a hot plate in Mimatsu

There are many restaurants serving Matsusaka beef in the city.

The famous three restaurants are Wadakin (和田金), Gyugin-Honten (牛銀本店) and Mimatsu (三松).

Wadakin and Gyugin-Honten have a history of over 110 years, and serve Sukiyaki mainly.
Mimatsu is a steak house and has a history of 80 years.

Wadakin has English website.

Wadakin

How to get here

By railroad (From Nagoya)

By limited express of Kintetsu railway, about 1 hour and 8 minutes. (Twice an hour)
Or, by rapid train of JR Kansai and Kisei Lines, about 1 hour and 8 minutes. (Once an hour)

By railroad (From Osaka)

By limited express of Kintetsu railway from Osaka-Uehonmachi or Nanba, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Hotels in Matsusaka city

Hotels in Matsusaka city

Other Tourist Attractions in Mie Prefecture

Nabana no Sato Nagashima Spa Land Mount Gozaisho Seki-juku post station Iga city Akame 48 Waterfalls Ise Shrine Meoto-iwa rocks Toba city Shima Peninsula Shichiri-mihama coast Maruyama Rice Terrace

Return to Mie Prefecture Return to Tokai Region

Other prefectures in Tokai Region