Also known as" "Crow's Castle" "because of its unusual black exterior, Matsumoto Castle is one of the three most beautiful castles in Japan, along with Himeji and Kumamoto Rule of the Takeda clan and later the famous Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The wooden interior of Matsumoto Castle offers an authentic experience that is different from what you get in many other castles rebuilt from reinforced concrete. The castle's most interesting features include steep wooden stairs, openings for archers, and an observation deck on the sixth floor of the main tower with great views of the surrounding city.
In spring, Matsumoto Castle is a popular spot for the cherry blossom. Many visit the extensive castle grounds and the park for a walk. Hundreds of cherry trees stand along the outer moat and are in full bloom in mid-April each year.
There are two magnificent black-colored gates leading to the castle. Black was considered the best color at the time and lended itself to a formal image. The Ichi no Mon, or outer gate, would lead people to the palace. Among its eaves, visitors can see the family crests of successive lords of the castle. The Ninomon, or inner gate, is located after crossing the inner moat. One of its interesting features are the small windows where matchlock pistols may be fired from. Photo: jpellgen (@1179_jp) / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The ruins of the Honmaru palace are marked by roof tiles in the Honmaru Garden. In the past, the castle consisted of 5 main buildings that were divided into about 60 rooms. In 1726, a fire destroyed Honmaru Goten and the lord at the time never rebuilt the palace, instead electing to move the palace affairs to Ninomaru Palace.
The Ninomaru Palace is thought to have been built following the completion of the Keep, around 1594. In the Meiji Period, the Ninomaru Palace was used as Chikuma Prefectural Office, but a fire occurred on June 19, 1867, and the entire building was burned down. In 1979, a research excavation began and the Ninomaru Palace ruins were restored and now they are open for public viewing.
It’s a 15-minute walk from Matsumoto Station. There is a bus available for 200 yen.
In the Matsumoto Castle garden, a tea ceremony is held several times a year. This summer, it’s being held on August 6th and 7th, at the beginning of the free admission period for visitors wearing kimono, and also the extension period of entrance hours (8:00 till door closes at 17:30 , normally 8:30-16:30) (until August 16). Members of the youth group of the Urasenke tea ceremony school wearing yukata will serve you cold green tea with Japanese cake for 500 yen. The leader of the group speaks English. Also, there is a full-scale tea-ceremony room with a tea garden in Ikegami Hyakuchikutei, a historical Japanese house with gardens, located just a few minutes walk northward from the castle. It is used as a community center (kominkan), but also is a perfect place to feel Japanese traditional culture, including the tea ceremony, and to enjoy Japanese gardens. The fall foliage of the garden is especially beautiful. You can look inside the tea room and garden freely without charge when it is not used.
Laboratorio Cafe & Shop offers homemade English muffins and handcrafted goods just a few minutes walk from Matsumoto Castle in Gunma. Creativity, minimalism, and organic embody the essence of Laboratorio with their domestic made and organically grown menu and goods.
Appreciation, representation, learning and communication are the four" "fundamental themes" "of the Matsumoto City Art Museum (Matsumoto-shi Bijutsu-kan), which features works by the city's most famous daughter, Yayoi Kusama, as well as other local artists. Kusama was born in 1929 and is internationally known for her signature Pop Art works. The collection of the artist's works includes various paintings and sculptures created in her typically lively and colorful style. Outside the main entrance of the building you can also admire a large tulip sculpture of her, which was unveiled when the museum was founded in 2002. The works of other artists are shown in a separate section of the museum, which rotate throughout the year. The museum also houses a shop that sells various souvenirs and art-related goods.