Travel Back in Time in Matsue Castle

Explore a centuries-old castle still in its original state

There are castles all over Japan, but due to earthquakes and fires, most are modern reconstructions. Only a handful still remain in their original wooden construction, and hardly any have been designated as Japanese National Treasures. Thanks to the efforts of local residents, Matsue Castle is one of these lucky few.

The original 400-year-old keep may appear to be five stories at first glance, but it's actually six. It's a bit of a hike up the stairs, but you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views once you reach the top. You can break up the trek by perusing the variety of samurai gear on display.

Visit in the spring to see why the castle is considered one of the best places in the country to see cherry blossoms. Stop by in the autumn for gorgeous fall foliage. If your feet grow tired, hop on the boat tour of the moat for some lovely views of the castle and the trees lining the water. Bring the kids, too; they'll love the actors dressed as samurai and ninja!

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