A famous castle which has retained its original appearance from the Edo Era
Built in 1602 by Yoshiaki Kato, Matsuyama Castle is the largest fortress in Shikoku that took 25 years to complete. It is only one of 12 castles in the entire country which has retained an original pre-Edo Era keep, and the valuable castle itself has retained its original appearance with 21 Important Cultural Properties. Matsuyama Castle has been selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Castles, Japan’s Top 100 Beautiful Historical Landscapes, and even as the No. 2 site in a TripAdvisor survey for Japanese castles. The inner citadel is 132 meters high which is three times as high as Himeji Castle, making it the highest-placed castle. Furthermore, with its keep soaring 30m, visitors can get a prime 360-degree view of Matsuyama City. From there, you can also get a glimpse of the high level of completion of the modern castle below through installations such as the turrets. To get to the inner citadel, you can walk, take the ropeway or get onto the one-person lift. There are 4 routes to get up to the castle, but the Kuromon-guchi Gate route was the official route during the Edo Era and while going on that way, you can view the Ninomaru Historical Relics Garden, and since the route going through the forest was the one that generations of castle lords took, it is also seen as the place which has retained an Edo Era pavement.
Memorable stone walls and elaborately designed exhibits
The large keep is a layered pagoda type with three levels and three floors with a basement that was the final completed example of castle architecture in the Edo Era. The climbing stone walls of Horinouchi were unusual walls of their kind in Japan which were designed to stop invading enemies from the mountain side and were a defensive tactic which linked the two stone walls on the mountain side between the buildings at the foot of the mountain with the keep at the top. Also, the inner citadel’s stone walls which exceeded 14m in height and had a folding-screen-like structure are memorable for their grandness. On the 1st floor of the keep, there is an area where you can try on samurai armor and have photos taken freely. You can get that feeling of a warrior. Portraits done in ink of samurai which were presumably sketched by restoration workers between 1848 and 1854 have been discovered and are now displayed inside the keep.