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Matsumoto Castle | The history and great points inside castle

Matsumoto in Nagano prefecture Is one of the popular cities for travel and immigrant.

The city has a good reputation for delicious food, valuable sites like the first original school in Japan, and so on.

However, the most interesting point in the city is Matsumoto Castle where has registered national treasure in Japan.

In this time, I mention detailed information and introduce attractive features about Matsumoto Castle with historical background.

The history of Matsumoto Castle and structures

Before introducing the travel point, the historical background in Matsumoto Castle should be known.

Originally, Matsumoto castle was built in 1504 and called Fukashi Castle at the time.

The castle has been composed of 5 structures like the below list.

  • Inui Kotenshu 16.8m
  • Watariyagura 12.0m
  • Dai-Tenshu 29.4m
  • Tatsumi Tsukeyagura 14.7m

Some buildings in the list were made in different ages, so inside features and functions in the castle are considerably unlike here and there in some cases.

What is the different point inside Matsumoto Castle

As an example of an inside feature, the center of the building called Dai-Tenshu has been structured by a thick wall to avoid invasion by an enemy’s attack.

Also, it works to fight back with weapons like arrows and guns through a gap on the wall.

On the other hand, the left building called Tsukimi Yagura was constructed in the later era which war and conflict had been over.

So, it is a comparatively open space due to excluding a function for conflict as if it indicates the peace age.

Such this, Matsumoto Castle show you a different feature even inside not only the beauty of the appearance, and it is one of the reasons why the castle is very popular.

  • Built in the Sengoku period
  • 5 structures that were built in a different era
  • The construction to apply both offense and defense

The feature and Interesting point in Matsumoto Castle

The Interesting point in Matsumoto Castle is to be able to go around inside from the first to six floors in Dai-Tenshu and Trukimi Yagura.

You can directly know how much the castle is great through an inside construction while feeling the atmosphere, so I will mention the splendid points of each floor in detail.

The first floor in Dai-Tenshu

The first floor shows the many columns compare to other floors to support the whole castle as the basement.

Also, this floor was used as storage to put down supplies like food, weapons, and so on.

In addition, the floor has exhibited objects such as the past used column, Shachihoko that is set on the Matsumoto Castle, etc.

Shachihoko is one of the Japanese fictional animals that has a head that seems to tiger or dragon, back with thorn, and back-bending tail fin, and it is sometimes seen in a Japanese castle.

Just so you know, Shachihoko in Matsumoto Castle was replaced in 1834, then it was to be cleared that the object was fitted to the support column that extending from the inside roof.

  • The structure that supports the Matsumoto Castle
  • The storage floor
  • The exhibited objects at the past

The second floor in Dai-Tenshu

The second floor shows many windows like vertical grid more than other floors.

However, the most interesting point here is the exhibition for the collections that were presented by Michishige Akahane who is from Matsumoto city, and his wife.

In contrast to the exhibits on the first floor, these collections are about battle weapons that they gathered for their lifetime.

As I mentioned, Matsumoto Castle has a balanced constitution to apply both offense and defense for a conflict, so they thought presenting these collections here is suitable and makes sense.

Consequently, you will be able to know battle history like what they used for protecting the castle through these.

  • Distinctive space that set many windows like vertical grid
  • The collections by Mr. and Ms. Akahane

The third floor in Dai-Tenshu

The third floor is comparatively dark due to only one window.

The floor is usually utilized for the storage as well as the first floor, but it is said that here was used as the place to gather by samurai armies at the time of a conflict.

In terms of the Interesting feature, it is difficult to recognize this floor from the outside because of fewer windows and appearance, so this is one of the reasons why the Matsumoto Castle looks like five stories despite six stories.

As a result, it can be said that here plays the role of the secret floor and has a structure that is difficult to find out by the enemy from the outside of Matsumoto Castle.

  • The structure that can not be made sure from outside
  • Gathering place by Samurai armies

The fourth floor in Dai-Tenshu

The fourth floor shows the unique atmosphere and interior design like the Japanese traditional style structure.

The sunlight comes through all sides, so the floor is a considerably brighter space than others.

As a side note, here is sometimes used as a lord’s chamber as well as six floors.

  • The structure like the traditional style in Japan
  • Lord’s chamber

The fifth floor in Dai-Tenshu

The fifth floor shows the high ceiling and steep stairs that are set from level four to five.

It is said that this space was used as a meeting room for the strategy before the conflict.

The sixth floor in Dai-Tenshu

The sixth floor is the top of Matsumoto Castle.

The most attractive point here is the great scenery that you can look around Matsumoto city from 95feets high.

Originally, this floor had worked to observe the enemy’s behavior, so you can see the view from the four points in the space and feel how people at that time observe the Matsumoto area.

  • The great scenery from 95feets high
  • Used as the observatory to look around the enemy

Tsukimi Yagura

After you go around Dai-Tenshu, The next building called Tsukimi Yagura can be accessed.

Traditionally, Tsukimi means to enjoy seeing the moon on a specific date, so this building was constructed as the name suggests (Technically, “Tsuki” means the moon, and “mi” is seeing in Japanese).

In terms of Tsukimi Yagura, there are no functions for conflict against Dai-Tenshu because this structure was built from 1624 to1643 that the peace age came after the Sengoku period.

So, the doors are opened and you can look over the ground in Matsumoto Castle from this space.

And, you are also able to see an exhibit that is displayed excavated artifacts that were unearthed around the castle.

These give you more understanding of the cultural aspect of Matsumoto city as well.

  • Laid backspace
  • The structure that represents the peace age
  • Exhibit of the excavated artifacts in Matsumoto

Matsumoto City Museum

If you are interested in Matsumoto Castle and regional cultures like customs and traditions, Matsumoto City Museum next to the castle should be visited as well.

The museum started in 1906, and you can know a variety of information such as the history of Matsumoto city, the detail of Matsumoto Castle, people’s lives at the time through the abundant exhibit.

Surprisingly, the museum owns over 11hundred thousands of collections including important cultural properties.

Furthermore, you will be able to understand Nagano’s regional and mysterious traditions that are not known worldwide through reference and object.

As a side note, if you want to know Japanese mysterious custom and tradition more, please check the below article as well.

6 Mysterious customs and traditions in Japan

Anyway, Matsumoto City Museum is free to enter if you buy a ticket for Matsumoto Castle, so please visit here to get deep understanding more.

  • The detailed information about the culture in Matsumoto
  • Over 110,000 collections containing reference
  • The exhibit to show a regional custom and tradition


Matsumoto Castle has a lot of Interesting points by the great structure and historical background not only its aesthetic appearance as I mentioned.

So, please check the features I introduced when you visit Matsumoto city,

And, If you want to know more information about tourist attractions in Nagano prefecture, please check other articles as well.

Nobeyama | What you enjoy Nagano trip in Japan

Mishaka Lake in Nagano | beautiful mirror lake in Japan