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Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto jo 松本城

Matsumoto Castle is one of four castles designated as 'National Treasures of Japan' and the oldest castle donjon remaining in Japan. Construction began in 1592 of the elegant black and white structure with its three turrets. Because of the elegant black walls, Matsumoto Castle is sometimes called 'Crow Castle'. Inside the castle are steep stairs and low ceilings leading past displays of armor and weapons from the Sengoku period ("Warring-States") when the castle was built. The narrow wooden windows, once used by archers and gunmen, provide amazing views of the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto City and the koi and swans circling in the moat below.

Every summer Taiko Drum Festival and a Takigi Noh (a play performed by torch light) festivals are held at the site which is also famous for its cherry blossoms in April. A Moon Viewing Party is held every autumn on the grounds in the specially built moon viewing room of the Castle. It is said, that "the moon can be seen three times from the moon viewing room". Once in the sky, once in the water below and once in your cup of sake (but six if the sake is strong).

There are free English language brochures and Good Will Guides provide interesting facts and legions.

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Access A short 15-minute walk or 5-minute bus ride from JR Matsumoto train station
A 15-minute drive from Matsumoto IC
(Google Map)
Admission for the inside of the castle and museum Y610 for adults, Y300 for ES/JHS
Hours 8:30am - 5pm (doors close 4:30pm)
Closed Dec 29 - Jan 3

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