Matsumoto Castle

Location: Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture   Map

Constructed: 1504

Matsumoto Castle


Description of Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle is a medieval castle situated in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture in Japan. The citadel of Matsumoto was originally called Fukashi Castle. The first fortification on this strategic place was build in 1504 with subsequent construction much of it was completed by the late 16th century. It came in possession of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early 17th century and was ruled by 23 lords until feudal system with its samurai class was abandoned. Matsumoto Castle also acquired a nick name Karasu- jo or "Crow castle" after wing - like shape of the castle's roof. Second floor of the gate is home to Teppi Gura, a museum of warfare and weapons used in constant Japanese civil wars. In 1872, following the Meiji Restoration, the castle was sold at auction, and ran the risk of being dismantled. Matsumoto Castle is considered the National Treasure of Japan and is one of the four castles of original construction.


It is located in the plain of Matsumoto, marshy lands that forced the builders to make very solid the structures, which were used for it long logs fixed on the ground. It was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi between 1594 and 1597 and its height reaches 30 meters, with six floors. It is supported on stone walls of 7 meters that, originally, had a wide pit under them. The two watch towers of the left wing were built in 1635, but the whole, in general, testifies to the period of peace established by the Tokugawa shogunate after the defeat of the followers of Toyotomi in the battle of Sekigahara and death on the site of Osaka by Toyotomi Hideyori in 1615. It is the period of passage from the military castles to places-symbol and prestige. The alternation of white and black bands along the walls, together with the elegant roof, give the whole structure great harmony. From its five-story tower you can enjoy the views offered by the fertile valley.