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Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto

4.5
#1 of 920 in Things to do in Nagano Prefecture
Scenic Walking Area Landmark
Visit the 16th century complex of Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan's most renowned landmarks, nicknamed "Crow Castle" because of its dark facade. Admire the imposing structure, the oldest castle remaining in Japan, notable for occupying a spot on a plain rather than the more usual hilltop. As you step inside the main building, you'll notice that the interior features authentic wooden pillars and staircases, while the second floor contains a collection of guns. Climb to the top of the main keep for panoramic views of the surroundings. To visit Matsumoto Castle on your trip to Matsumoto, use our Matsumoto tourist route planner.
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Where to stay in Matsumoto

Matsumoto strikes a balance between the old and the new in its accommodations, as it does with most other aspects of its urban design and culture. The area directly around the main train station houses many of the newer options in town, including some large hotels, both basic and luxury, and a couple of smaller, family-run options. The more historic area north of here has hotels and "ryokan" (guesthouses) with a little more history and character, and with the main attractions of the old town on their doorsteps. The surrounding rural area features a number of hotels with "onsen" (traditional Japanese spas) and campsites.
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4.5
  • This castle, moat and its grounds are very impressive and present numerous photo opportunities. We went out of our way to visit here and we were not disappointed. We got to learn some more of Japanese...  more »
  • I tend to think of castles as being stone structures with moats. Here we have a beautiful castle with a moat but built from wood. From the station it is about 15-20 minutes on foot. Just follow the si...  more »
  • Matsumoto Castle is a great place to visit and view the history. Also, a great place for a picnic or relaxing in the park. Cherry Blossoms are beautiful in season.  more »
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  • We enjoy the deep black colored castle built 500 years before. The paint of outside wall plate is natural lacquer collected in Japan. People maintain it annually! Appreciated their continuous efforts. The view from top floor is nice, but narrow and steeply stairs are there.
  • A worthwhile excursion which was further enhanced by a bit of luck. We were travelling in late October/early November. In addition to the castle, a stand alone site, we also experience the Chrysanthemum / Bonsai Festival. Although my friend spoke and read Japanese, we heard someone giving a detailed explanation in English. A couple of British gentlemen were kind enough to allow us to latch onto their guided tour. There's more than enough to take in visually, but if you can arrange for a tour in a tongue you understand, there's a wealth of information and history on display at this site.
  • What a national treasure. Matsumoto Castle is a very unique fortress that is called the "Black Crow" because of the dark color. There is a very nice collection of antique firearms located inside. Great place to escape the fast pace of the city. English speaking guides are there if you want to know more. They are free and not even allowed to take tips. So if you go, you might take a small gift to give them. Don't miss this wonderful place...
  • It's a quite unique castle that brings you back in japanese middle age. Inside the castle there is almost nothing but it isn't unusual in japanese historical buildings. It's a bit narrow so it's perfect with few people.
  • One of the most beautifully preserved castles in Japan. Everything is in good shape and kept as it was years ago. The visitors can go up to the top. Also the gardens and the parks surrounding the castle are beautiful.