Spot in Nagano Prefecture

Matsumoto Castle [松本城]

Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle in winter
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
Matsumoto Castle in spring

Taikomon gate of Matsumoto Castle
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
Moat of Matsumoto Castle

Kuromon gate 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 in Matsumoto Castle
Inside of the castle tower

View from the castle tower of Matsumoto Castle
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.

Matsumoto Castle

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.

Other Tourist Attractions in Nagano Prefecture

Northern part

Mount Asama Karuizawa Kaikoen Bessho Onsen Sugadaira highland Zenkoji temple Obuse town Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen towns Jigokudani Monkey Park Shiga highland Nozawa Onsen Lake Nojiri Mount Togakushi

Central part

Tateshina highland Kirigamine highland Lake Suwa Azumino town Utsukushigahara

Along Northern Alps

Kamikochi Norikura highland Lake Aoki Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Hakuba village

Along Kiso Valley

Narai post station Mount Ontake Nezame-no-toko gorge Tsumago & Magome post stations

Along Ina Valley

Mount Kiso-Komagatake Takatô Castle Ruins Park Tenryukyo gorge

Return to Nagano Prefecture Return to Koshin-etsu Region