Sunday, February 5, 2012

Matsumoto Castle 松本城


Matsumoto Castle

I have always wanted to visit this castle since the day I saw a picture of it in Flickr.com sometime ago in year 2010. I wanted to take pictures of this castle myself. It is so beautiful. The opportunity came when I visited World Heritage Shirakawago and the nearby city Takayama early this year. Matsumoto city is located in between Tokyo and Shirakawago and therefore, I stopped by Matsumoto city on my way back to Tokyo, stayed overnight there just to visit the famous Matsumoto Castle. Matsumoto is about 3 hours and 10 minutes bus ride from Tokyo Shinjuku Bus Terminal. It cost 3,400yen one way. You can also access Matsumoto from Takayama Bus Terminal, which is 3,100yen one way. Click here for the Nohi bus time table from Takayama to Matsumoto.  For more travel information about Matsumoto, click here.

Matsumoto Castle at night

Matsumoto Castle is one of the most beautiful and photogenic castle in Japan. It is also known as the "Crow Castle" for it's black exterior.

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"The castle's origins go back to the Sengoku period. At that time Shimadachi Sadanaga of the Ogasawara clan built a fort on this site in 1504 which was originally called Fukashi Castle. In 1550 it came under the rule of the Takeda clan and then Tokugawa Ieyasu.

When Toyotomi Hideyoshi transferred Ieyasu to the Kantō region, he placed Ishikawa Norimasa in charge of Matsumoto. Norimasa and his son Yasunaga built the tower and other parts of the castle, including the three towers: the keep and the small tower in the northwest, both begun in 1590, and the Watari Tower; the residence; the drum gate; the black gate, theTsukimi Yagura, the moat, the innermost bailey, the second bailey, the third bailey, and the sub-floors in the castle, much as they are today. They were also instrumental in laying out the castle town and its infrastructure. It is believed much of the castle was completed by 1593–94.

During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate established the Matsumoto Domain, of which the Matsudaira, Mizuno and others were the daimyo.

For the next 280 years until the abolition of the feudal system in the Meiji Restoration, the castle was ruled by the 23 lords of Matsumoto representing six different daimyo families. In this period the stronghold was also known as Crow Castle (烏城 Karasu-jo) because its black walls and roofs looked like spreading wings." *Source: Wikipedia.

Matsumoto Castle in the morning

Matsumoto Castle during sunrise

Matsumoto Castle in B&W

Matsumoto Castle during sunrise

Good morning Matsumoto

Matsumoto Castle in Sunrise

Matsumoto Castle

Also known as the Crow Castle

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle at night

Matsumoto Castle with the Stars

Entrance to the castle cost 600yen. I did not managed to go in as it was closed from December 29 to January 3 each year. However, the pictures above proved that my decision to stop by was a right one. I strongly encourage people who are visiting Nagoya or Shirakawago from Tokyo put this place into their itinerary too.

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