Located in the heart of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture, Matsuyama Castle offers a bird's-eye view of the area. And as one of Japan's 12 original castles, it provides insights into the region as well as the architecture and history of Japan.
You can reach the castle by train and then a walk, a tram or a ropeway.
Matsuyama Castle is perched on top of Mt. Katsuyama, and can be reached by ropeway, chairlift or on foot.
Access to the area is about a five-minute walk from the Okaido Station tram stop. To get to Okaido Station, take the number five tram line from Matsuyama JR Station. From Matsuyama Station, take the number two or three tram line, then the chairlift or ropeway to the top of the mountain. Alternatively, you can take the path from Ninomaru Historical Gardens by Shiroyama Park at the base of the mountain for a pleasant 15-minute walk.
Matsuyama Castle is famed as one of Japan's 12 original castles that have survived since 1868 more or less undamaged.
Matsuyama Castle was first built in the early 1600s by Kato Yoshiaki. Soon after, it became home to the Matsudaira family and remained so until the end of the feudal era. The castle burned down once in 1642, and again in 1784 when it was struck by lightning.
Shiroyama Park at the base of Mt. Katsuyama is a recreational park with expansive play areas and beautiful views of the castle. And with access to Ninomaru, Shiroyama Park is the perfect place to start or end your exploration of the castle.
Ninomaru Historical Garden originally served as the second circle of defense for Matsuyama Castle. While none of the buildings survived, you can see the layout of the lord’s residence and offices plus landscaped greenery and ponds.
Matsuyama Castle has numerous buildings, unlike many other Japanese castles. Throughout the various wings of the castle you can see exhibits on weaponry, haiku poetry, traditional construction methods and more.