Sunday, December 23, 2012

Matsumoto Castle - "Crow Castle"

We came to Matsumoto city in Nagano prefecture today to visit Matsumoto Castle.  Today's highest temperature is 0 Celsius degrees!  It is freezing. 

If you would like to see a castle in central Japan area, visit Matsumoto Castle.  This castle is designated as National Treasure of Japan and the oldest castle donjon remaining in Japan, constructed in 1592.  Because of the elegant black walls, Matsumoto Castle is sometimes called 'Crow Castle'.

By the way, how many floors do you think this castle has?  It looks 5 floors, but actually there are 6 floors in it.  You cannot see from outside, but there is a floor between 2nd and 3rd.  When the battle started, samurais got together on this floor to protect themselves.  There is no window on this floor.

Also, when you look at roof tiles carefully, you will notice that there are some kinds of tiles of family crests.  This is because the owner of this castle changed frequently, the total feudal lords of this castle is 23 in the end.

Let's go inside of the castle!

Each floor is fitted with holes for firing weapons.  This long rectangular hole is for shooting arrows at the attacking enemy.  There are square holes also, and they are for firing guns. 

The steepest stair of this castle is 61 degree because the stairs are installed between pillars.  No elevator at this time... 

This castle was constructed in the age of Civil Wars, so the black wall castle was to protect and fight.  The wall is about 30cm thickness, and fewer windows are installed.  You can see the armor and the picture of the battle displayed. 

The view of the feudal lord from the top floor!  The water filled in the moat is spring water, not the water from a river.  This can be done because this area is famous for springs and clean water like Switzerland.

From Matsumoto station to Matsumoto Castle, it takes 5 minutes by bus and 15 minutes on foot.  (The bus runs every 30 minutes and the fare is JPY190 per person.) The bus is cute like a ladybug.

To go to Matsumoto from Tokyo area, take JR Azusa Express from Shinjuku.  It takes about 3 hours. 
Matsumoto Castle
4-1, Marunouchi, Matsumoto, Nagano

Admission for the inside of the castle and museum:  JPY600 for an adult
Hours:  8:30am to 5pm (doors close at 4:30pm)

Experience Japan!