Highlights and access methods of Matsumoto Castle (Nagano Prefecture)

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Matsumoto Castle has been designated a national treasure as the oldest surviving castle tower in Japan. The black lacquer used on the siding gives the castle a beautiful contrast of black and white. Climbing the narrow stairs to the castle tower offers a panoramic view of Matsumoto city.

In this article, we will explain the attractions of Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture and how to access it for those who are traveling to Japan from overseas.

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(Prefecture : Nagano , Category : Castles)

Highlights of Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle is designated as a national treasure in Japan, recognized as the oldest surviving castle tower. There are only 12 castles left that were built before the Edo period, and among them, only Himeji Castle, Hikone Castle, Inuyama Castle, Matsue Castle, and Matsumoto Castle are designated as national treasures, making them incredibly valuable historical structures.

One characteristic of Matsumoto Castle is its color. Black lacquer is used on the part called the lower viewing board, and when combined with the white lacquer on the upper part, it creates a beautiful black and white contrast. This black lacquer is repainted every year. Although there were other castles that used black lacquer in the past, currently only Matsumoto Castle maintains this tradition.

Although Matsumoto Castle is sometimes referred to as "Crow Castle" due to its appearance, it seems that this nickname has never been officially used. It's worth noting that Matsumoto Castle was built around 1504 and was originally named Fukashi Castle. In 1582, it was renamed from Fukashi Castle to Matsumoto Castle by Ogasawara Sadayoshi.

You can climb up to the castle tower of Matsumoto Castle using stairs. However, the last set of stairs leading to the castle tower is very steep and narrow, so caution is needed when climbing. From the castle tower, you can overlook the entire city of Matsumoto, and it's also known as a cherry blossom viewing spot. The castle is lit up in spring, and various events are held during other seasons, so be sure to check the event information before visiting Matsumoto Castle.

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Address and access method of Matsumoto Castle

The address of Matsumoto Castle is "4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture". The nearest station is Matsumoto Station on the JR Shinonoi Line. If you walk from here, it will take about 20 minutes. Take a bus from Matsumoto Station and get off at Matsumoto Castle/Shiyakusho-mae. A short walk away.

Attractions near Matsumoto Castle

There are several notable tourist attractions near Matsumoto Castle that are worth exploring. Some of the highlights include:

Nakamachi Street
This historic street, characterized by its white-walled merchant houses, offers a nostalgic atmosphere. It is home to several unique shops, cafes, and galleries, where you can sample local delicacies or find traditional crafts and antiques.

Matsumoto City Museum of Art
This museum features the works of local artists, most notably Yayoi Kusama, who is known worldwide for her polka-dot motifs. The museum's modern architecture itself is a sight to behold, blending seamlessly with the inspiring artworks housed within.

Kaichi School Museum
The oldest elementary school in Japan, Kaichi School is now a museum that tells the story of Japan's early modern education system. Its stunning Western-style architecture, dating back to 1876, is a significant part of Matsumoto's cultural heritage.

Alps Park
Located on the outskirts of Matsumoto, this park provides panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. It features a children's zoo, botanical garden, and various recreational facilities, making it an excellent place for families to enjoy a day out.

Other information about Matsumoto Castle

Official site about Matsumoto Castle :


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( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )