Matsumoto Castle in Nagano is one of the few remaining original castles in Japan. A fort was first built at the site in 1504, then in 1550 the Takeda clan under big boss Tokugawa Ieyasu built it up further, with the Norimasa clan taking over stewardship from 1590, extensively reinforcing and adding to the structure. That makes it around 500 years old, no doubt one of the oldest buildings in Japan. It’s a traditional wooden structure of several levels, with the pagoda-like structure common in traditional Japanese buildings. It is nick-named “Crow Castle” for it’s black walls and spreading wings.
I visited the castle around 4 months ago now, but never got round to posting about it. Su Young and I went on a hiking/camping trip up in Kita-kami- a 3-day trek into the mountains that unfortunately got fore-stalled at the first campground after a night spent freezing in the colder-than-expected mountain air. I don’t think I’ve ever been so uncomfortable in my life. We both put on all our clothes and got inside the same sleeping bag, with the other one around it, gloves and hats on, unable to move, and still cold to the bone.
I guess I don’t have winter gear. We should have expected such cold seeing as we were going in October, but it was still temperate in Tokyo.
After that miserable night we took one final hike a few hours up, then came down again and spent the night in a Toyoko Inn in Matsumoto. The next day we did a quick bit of sight-seeing before our shinkansen out, taking in the Matsumoto castle tour as well as Wasabi ice-cream, a local delicacy I hear, and posing variously with a statue of a boy playing a flute (as I do) and a girl playing a violin (as Su Young does).
I didn’t eat any of the Wasabi ice cream- not really my thing. I had half vanilla, half chocolate.
Over the moat.
Under the trees.
Steep stairs inside.
View from the 3rd floor, over the gardens.
Over the city, to the mountains.
Attached to the castle was a history museum, which we wandered through for a while.
Samurai lacquered ceramic armour.
Hand rocket launcher. RPG.
Phalli, for a manhood festival.
The bigest one is missing. What a pity.
Location – Matsumoto, Nagano
Entry – A few hundred yen
Facts – 1504, 1550, 1590, traditional original wooden style.
Architect – Takeda, Norimasa.
Highlights – Being the oldest thing I’ve seen in Japan. Wasabi ice cream.
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