Matsumoto Castle with the Oldest Five-Tiered Structurein Japan

Photo provided by Nagano Prefectural Tourism & Local Products Association

Matsumoto Castle is a five-tiered castle, which is the oldest architectural structure in Japan and it is interesting to see both from the outside and from the inside. The black and white contrast of the skylight beautifully reflects in the northern Alps and in the sky! This time, we would like to introduce the charm of this Matsumoto castle, with a focus on its story-telling tenshu tower!

History of Matsumoto Castle

Photo provided by Nagano Prefectural Tourism & Local Products Association

Matsumoto Castle were historically owned by six castle owners. Its symbol, the five-tiered castle, was built by the Ishikawa Kazumasa and Yasunaga family, who were the castle lords from 1590 to 1613. The Tsukimi-an and Satsuki-an were built around 1633 when Matsudaira Naomasa was the castle owner. There was a crisis of dismantling after the Meiji era, but eventually it was protected by the people in Matsumoto city, and the group of guardians was designated as a national treasure in 1952. The Tenshu complexconsists of five buildings: the Great Tenshu (大天守), the Inui Kotenshu (乾小天守), the Watari Yagura (渡櫓), the Tatsumi Seika (辰巳附櫓), and the Tsukimi Yagura (月見櫓).

What to see at Matsumoto Castle in Japan

The Contrast of White and Black with Blue Sky

The outer wall of Matsumoto Castle is painted with white stucco and black lacquer. This is the symbol color that was applied to make the appearance similar to the castle of Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was the authority at that time, Osaka Castle. Black lacquering also helps to protect the castle from rain.played a role in repelling rainwater. Matsumoto castle is known as the last castle built in this color scheme that no more similar castles were builtd afterward. It also remains as the only castle in this category nowadays.

The Secret of The Castle's Interior and Exterior

Photo provided by Nagano Prefectural Tourism & Local Products Association

The robust tenements were built during the Warring States period are simple ones made for battles such as stone removal, including the space between arrows and guns. In addition, although the exterior of the main tower is five-fold, the interior becomes six floors if the third floor hidden in the roof is added. Inside the Tenmon are also various exhibits. Climb up the narrow stairs of the main tower and proceedto the top floor for a breathtaking view. The view you intend to become a warlord who got this castle will be a memorable one.

Tsukimi yagura; a beautiful designed fort

Photo provided by Nagano Prefectural Tourism & Local Products Association

As the Sengoku Era banned the new construction and extension of the castle after the end of the Warring States period, there were very few towers and forts built during the Edo period. However, Matsumoto Castle had a time when the castle was dominated by Matsudaira Naomasa, the grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and was specially allowed to extend Tsukimi yagura and Utsukushi yagura. So, there are towers built in different times and for various purposes. This is very unique to Matsumoto Castle.

Matsumoto Castle with Cherry Blossoms

Photo provided by Nagano Prefectural Tourism & Local Products Association

Matsumoto Castle is also famous as a cherry blossom landmark. The combination of the cherry blossoms, the high-rise giant and the graceful rose is the beauty of Japan. During the night, the castle is lighted up, adding to the fantastic atmosphere and exudes a unique beauty. It is a landmark that you cannot miss this scenery both in day and night time.

Access to Matsumoto Castle from Tokyo

From Tokyo station to Nagano station, it takes about 95 minutes by Shinkansen. Take the local train from Nagano station to Matsumoto station, which is about 52 to 55 minutes. You can walk from Matsumoto station to the castle in 15 minutes. There are also circulation bus called "Town Sneakers" which can takes youto the castle in 10 minutes.

Spot Information

  • Name of the visiting spot : Matsumoto Castle

  • Address: 4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto city, Nagano prefecture 〒390-0873
  • Access: Approx. 95 minsby Shinkansen from Tokyo station to Nagano station. Then, approx. 52 - 55 mins by train from Nagano station to Matsumoto station. Approx. 15 ms on foot or about 10 mins by bus from the station to the castle
  • Wi-Fi: Only near Kuromon Southside *Matsumoto_City_Free_Wi-Fi
  • Language: Matsumoto Castle volunteer guide in English, French, and Chinese
  • Credit cards: Not accepted
  • Opening hours: 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. (last is 4:30 p.m.)
  • Entrance fee: Adult 610 yen,elementary students and Junior high school students 300yen


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