Outdoor | Avg price: ¥610 | English Available: None (Unknown)
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For the real feel of a historic castle
Matsumoto Castle was the first castle I visited in Japan and to this day remains my favourite. It is not just because it was my first, but because on balance it interests me more than the other castles I have been to. Also, as it is an original castle it is one of the most complete you can see in japan, and one of the most beautiful too. The castle is stunning from the outside. You cross a moat to get to it. Upon entering you can get a real feel for how it was in its day. Unlike Osaka where they butchered the inside of the castle and turned it into something modern and unrepresentative, Matsumoto castle has kept much of the original interior including sticking with wooden interiors and steep staircases. It is worth a visit any time of the year, but it is particularly beautiful when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. It is relatively easy to get to by public transport.
Matsumoto castle was a beautiful place to visit. The grounds around the castle were lovely even in the winter. It is a black castle and it is one of the 12 original castles left in Japan. It does cost to go inside. Just a warning there are very steep steps inside. If you have young children I would be cautious because it is hard for them to climb. Inside is a museum with artifacts and shows all the amazing architecture. We went a couple days after New Years and it wasn’t too crowded. Before you get into the castle they had some men dressed up as samurai and you could take pictures with them. Overall it was very enjoyable experience. If you are traveling to Nagano I would recommend traveling to Matsumoto to visit the castle.