Matsumoto Castle – Nagano | Travel Information

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano Prefecture, is one of the most beautiful original castles standing in Japan today. The buildings visible today date back to 1594, meaning that this castle did not meet the fate that so many castles faced during World War 2 or the Meiji Restoration. 

As you may notice, Matsumoto Castle isn’t built a top a large hill or a mountain. Instead, it’s built upon a plain, very similar to Hiroshima Castle. This type of castle is called  ‘Hirajiro’, which translates to flatland castle. 

Hills/mountains served as a great defense mechanism for many castles, but for Matsumoto Castle, which had no such luxury, relied on carefully planned walls and a large moat around the foot of the castle. The Castle is made out of materials that were available around the 16th century, so a lot of dirt, wood and stone. Despite the main keep being constructed out of wood, the castle has had no issue with fires unlike many of the ancient Japanese castles. 

This castle was actively used from 1504 to 1868, which was ruled by a total of 23 lords of Matusmoto. In 1872, the castle was up for destruction, as it the land was sold at auction following the Meiji Restoration, but the townsfolk did not want their local culture and history to just be demolished. Several appeals later, the castle was saved by a community effort, with the castle becoming property of the city of Matsumoto, which was later designated as a National Treasure. 

 

Spring time is the best time to view Matsumoto Castle, and all the other castles across Japan as most castles have tons of cherry blossoms which make sightseeing particularly beautiful around this time of year.

Hours and Admission

  • Hours: 8:30am - 5:00pm (Last Entry at 4:30pm)
  • 610JPY
  • Average Time Spent: 1 hour
  • Official Website

Access

Matsumoto Castle is located down the road about a 10 minute walk away from Kita-Matsumoto Station. 

Of course, if you don’t feel up to the couple blocks of walking, you can take a taxi from Matsumoto Station to the castle, which should cost you about 700-1000JPY

Where To Stay

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Nearby Attractions

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