Matsumoto is a city located in the Nagano Prefecture in the center of the Japanese main island Honshu. It is famous for its huge castle that is located in the city center. It’s said to be the second biggest castle in Japan and is listed as a National Treasure of Japan.
The city is surrounded by mountains which makes for beautiful views all around.
What to find out in this post
- 978.47 km² area
- 241,102 inhabitants (2016)
- Used to be a castle town in Edo Period
- Modern city since 1907
How to get to Matsumoto
Bus from Tokyo to Matsumoto
Duration: 3,20 hours
Price: 3.500 Yen (ca. 27€/ $33)
There are different bus companies operating between Tokyo and Matsumoto. (Therefore, the prices can differ between the different bus companies)
Bus from Takayama to Matsumoto
Duration: 2,5 hours
Price: 3190 Yen (ca. 24,50€/ $30)
One popular destination besides Matsumoto is Takayama. (Click here to check out my article about Takayama)
There are buses and even trains (slightly more expensive) operating between these two destinations several times a day. (Also from Matsumoto to Takayama)
Find the bus schedule of one company here. But don’t forget to compare prices before booking. 😉
The History of the Matsumoto Castle
The Castle of Matsumoto is one of the most popular castles in Japan. Due to its dark color and shape that could remind of spread wings, it’s also often called Crow Castle or Castle of the Crow.
The construction of the Matsumoto Castle has started already around 1504. Firstly, it was only meant to be a fort during Sengoku Period. Anyway, around 1590, Norimasa and his son Yasunaga that were in charge of Matsumoto at this time decided to optimize the constructions by adding many things.
During the years, 23 lords have ruled in the Matsumoto Castle. Today, it is still in really good conditions as one of few remaining original castles in Japan due to renovations in the 20th century.
The castle has been constructed out of wood and stone and is one of the few castles that not have been built on a hilltop. Therefore it is a so-called flatland castle.
Entrance Fee to Matsumoto Castle
For 600 Yen (ca. 4.90 Euro) you can enter and have a walk through the castle garden and the impressive insides of the castle.
Your first time in Japan?
Find some useful information about this amazing country in our Ultimate Japan Guide. Or would you rather know how to travel Japan on a Budget?
Matsumoto’s Japanese Castle Interior
Inside of Matsumoto Castle, you can find a variety of exhibits from the Edo area. You can actually easily spend two hours in here discovering antique remainings from the Edo area and learning about the traditional Japanese culture, history and of course about the famous Samurais.
Have a free tour through the Matsumoto Castle
There are many volunteer guides that offer their guidance for free. Even tips don’t get accepted.
The man that showed us around, started studying Spanish three years ago and was happy to practice a bit with us. So he could explain us the peculiarities of the Matsumoto Castle in Spanish and English.
It was really pleasant to have someone that could tell us the background info about the shown objects and the castle itself. As many of the signs were just in Japanese. As I didn’t have all necessary background info it was really nice being able to ask someone that had an answer to all my questions about Japanese culture and habits. It was super interesting to learn about all these things.