Regarding Matsumoto Castle
Since its construction in the latter half of the 16th century, Matsumoto Castle has kept its noble appearance. Painted in jet-black, the castle is not a completely showy structure, but it evokes a dignity that survived the turbulent times of the harsh Sengoku Era from its unwasted beauty. However, there is a history for the castle that was brought about by the passion of the local citizens. When the castle was auctioned off, those citizens along with people of influence saved it. Even afterwards, it was not demolished and through restoration and reconstruction, the castle has continued to be preserved as it was when it had been first built. Since it is one of the rare oldest existing castles in Japan, it was designated as a National Treasure and was selected to be one of Japan’s Top 100 Castles.
The features of a castle which survived a turbulent age
One of the characteristics of Matsumoto Castle is its construction on a plain. To protect a castle from enemies during the Sengoku Era, castles were frequently built on mountain tops. However, this was inconvenient for the development of commerce and industry for the town. For that reason, Matsumoto Castle was erected on a plain in the hopes for town development and countermeasures against enemy attack were rigorously developed. Around the castle, three layers of moats were built which prevented enemy invasion. Within the castle grounds, there were strong steps on the slopes and many small windows known as hazama. From those windows, rocks and firearms were able to be used while making it difficult for attack from the outside. Matsumoto Castle as seen from the outer moat was viewed as a fortress floating on the water which inspired fear. But looking at it from the other side, it is interesting that it is admired for having a gentle appearance among the beautiful pine.
Experience the interior of going up the castle tower!
The castle tower, consisting of 5 layers but 6 floors, is currently a museum and the interior exhibits weapons and equipment used at that time. Once you climb the extremely steep and narrow stairs, you should be able to realize traces of the various efforts made to make things difficult for invading enemies. However, when you reach the top floor, you will recover from the fatigue after seeing the beautiful mountains of the Japanese Northern Alps and the pretty landscape of Matsumoto spreading out in front of your eyes.
Scenery and events (Soba Festival) all throughout the year
At Matsumoto Castle, beloved by the citizenry, seasonal events are held in lively fashion. At the spring cherry blossom festival, Yozakura-kai, the castle and the 3000 cherry trees inside the castle grounds are illuminated. In July, there is the wadaiko drum festival and a nighttime Noh performance is held outdoors. In the fall, there is the moon-viewing festival and the Soba Festival, and in the winter, there is the ice sculpture festival. With all these various events, the castle and the citizens celebrate as one.