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Matsumoto Castle

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Matsumoto Castle


Take in views of the Japanese Alps from one of the county's oldest castles

Matsumoto City



Of the five castles designated as National Treasures of Japan, Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, is the oldest dating from 1594. It is popularly known as Karasu-jō (Crow Castle) because of the pitch black exterior of its five-tiered, six-story central tower.

Inside the castle are steep stairs and low ceilings leading past displays of armor and weapons from the Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Period) when the castle was originally built. The narrow wooden windows, once used by archers and gunmen, provide amazing views of the Japanese Alps surrounding Matsumoto City, and the koi and swans circling in the moat below.

The landscape around Matsumoto Castle changes with each season. Spring brings cherry blossoms, summer fresh greenery, and fall the beautiful autumnal foliage. In winter the snow-covered Northern Japan Alps accentuate the dark shape of the castle. From sunset to 22:00, the tower is illuminated, providing visitors with a fantastic view at night, too.

Daily between 9:00 and 16:00, hospitality team members dressed in the costumes of princesses, soldiers and ninja warriors circulate in the castle’s Honmaru Gardens. You can give them your camera to take photos of you, or ask them to join you in taking photos for memories of your travels.


How to get there


Matsumoto Station is 52 minutes via JR wide-view Shinano train from Nagano Station. The castle is then a 15 minute walk or a 5 minute bus ride on the 'Town Sneaker' Northern Course bus loop line from JR Matsumoto Station.


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