A Trip to Matsumoto Castle: How to Experience Japan’s Rich History and Culture

Matsumoto Castle is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Japanese history and architecture located in Nagano, Japan.

The stunning black facade of the castle gives it the nickname ‘Crow Castle’ and makes it stand out from other castles in the country.

It is a quintessential Japanese castle that is considered one of the country’s most treasured cultural assets.

The castle’s dark and moody exterior has earned it the nickname “Crow Castle” because of its resemblance to the dark bird.

How to Visit Matsumoto Castle : A National Treasure of Japan

If you’re planning a trip to Matsumoto Castle, here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Matsumoto Castle History

Matsumoto Castle, or Matsumotojo, is a stunning and well-preserved original castle in Japan.

Unlike most Japanese castles, which are built on hills or mountains, Matsumoto Castle is a hirajiro, or a castle built on plains.

What sets this castle apart from others is its combination of a secondary donjon and a turret adjoined to its main keep, making it a unique and impressive structure.

Matsumoto Castle’s construction began in 1592 and lasted until 1614, during a time when peace was not yet fully achieved.

Matsumoto Castle Phamplet 1 - A Trip to Matsumoto Castle: How to Experience Japan's Rich History and Culture

As such, both the main castle keep and the secondary donjon were well-fortified.

However, in 1635, when military threats had ceased, a third turret and a moon viewing turret were added to the castle, albeit with barely any defense.

One of the most striking features of Matsumoto Castle is its black wainscoting, which adds to its grandeur and poise.

Matsumoto Castle Phamplet 2 - A Trip to Matsumoto Castle: How to Experience Japan's Rich History and Culture

Its wooden interior is also well-preserved and provides an authentic experience that cannot be found in many other castles rebuilt with ferro-concrete.

Visitors will appreciate the steep wooden stairs, openings for dropping stones onto invaders, openings for archers, and an observation deck at the top floor of the main keep that offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding city.

How to Get There

If you’re planning to visit Matsumoto Castle, the nearest station is Matsumoto Station.

The station is accessible by taking the Azusa limited express train from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, which takes about 2.5 hours.

From Matsumoto Station, it’s just a 15-minute walk north to the castle.

If you prefer not to walk, you can also take a bus from the station to the castle.

Once you arrive at the castle, there are several ways to explore the grounds.

You can take a self-guided tour, rent an audio guide, or join a guided tour.

Guided tours are available in Japanese and English and are conducted by knowledgeable guides who can provide you with in-depth information about the castle’s history and architecture.

READ :   Hello everybody! Hope everyone's having a blast this holiday season! here! Tom...

Ticket Price

Matsumoto Castle is open to visitors all year round, but the opening hours may vary depending on the season.

In general, the castle is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, with the last admission at 4:30 pm.

Admission fees are affordable, with adults paying 700 yen and children under 15 years old paying 300 yen.

Admission ticket to Japan’s national treasure Matsumoto Castle Tenshu (Gardens)
Adults Elementary and Junior High students Remarks
Private 700 yen 300 yen
Groups 630 yen 270 yen Over 20 and under 99 persons
560 yen 240 yen Over 100 and under 299 persons
490 yen 210 yen Over 300 persons
* Elementary and under no charge
* For all other details please inquire at the management office.

Visitors should also consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the history and architecture of the castle.

English audio guides are available for a small fee, and there are also free guided tours conducted by volunteer guides.

Best Time to Visit Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan’s most iconic and well-preserved castles, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

However, like most tourist destinations, the experience can vary depending on the time of year you decide to visit.

For those seeking the ideal time to visit Matsumoto Castle, the best times are during the spring and fall seasons.

In the spring, the castle is surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms, providing a picture-perfect scene that is truly unforgettable.

The cherry blossom season typically runs from late March to early April, making it an ideal time to visit the castle if you want to witness the breathtaking pink blooms.

Another great time to visit Matsumoto Castle is during the fall season, which runs from late September to early November.

During this time, the trees surrounding the castle turn into a stunning display of colors, from vibrant oranges and yellows to deep reds and purples.

The autumn leaves create a picturesque backdrop that complements the castle’s dark facade, making it an ideal time to visit for those seeking an atmospheric and memorable experience.

Castle Hours
Ordinary Season 8:30 – 17:00(last admission is 16:30)
During Golden WeekBetween Apr. 25 (Sat)– May 6 (Wed) 8:00 – 18:00(last admission is 17:30)
Summer SeasonBetween Aug. 8 (Sat)– Aug. 16 (Sun)
New Year Season
Between Jan. 1 (Sun) – Jan. 3 (Tue)
10:00 – 15:30(last admission is 15:00)
READ :   One Hokkaido milk serve please! Photo by ...

While summer and winter also offer their unique charms, it’s best to avoid visiting the castle during peak summer months when the temperatures can be sweltering and the crowds overwhelming.

Winter can also be a magical time to visit the castle, with snow covering the grounds and castle roofs, but the colder temperatures may be a deterrent for some visitors.

Aside from the seasonal factors, it’s also essential to consider the time of day you visit Matsumoto Castle.

Visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon can be a great way to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more tranquil and peaceful experience.

Additionally, visiting during the weekdays rather than weekends can also help avoid the large crowds that typically flock to the castle during peak times.

In conclusion, the best time to visit Matsumoto Castle is during the spring and fall seasons when the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves respectively provide breathtaking views.

However, it’s always best to consider the time of day and day of the week you visit to avoid the crowds and ensure a more peaceful and enjoyable experience.

No matter when you choose to visit, Matsumoto Castle is sure to provide an unforgettable experience and a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

What to Do

Aside from admiring the castle’s beauty, there are other things to do in the area.

The castle is located in a beautiful city, surrounded by nature, and there are many hiking trails nearby.

You can also visit nearby museums such as the Matsumoto City Museum of Art and the Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum to learn more about the region’s culture and history.

Other Tips When Visiting

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as there is some walking involved in getting to the castle.

It’s also a good idea to arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds, especially during peak tourist season.

Finally, don’t forget to try some local delicacies in the area, such as soba noodles and wasabi-flavored treats.

Also, here are some tips for visiting Matsumoto Castle:

  1. Best Time to Visit The best time to visit Matsumoto Castle is during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, you can see the castle surrounded by cherry blossoms, making it a picturesque scene. During the fall, the autumn leaves surrounding the castle make it even more stunning.
  2. Getting There The nearest station to Matsumoto Castle is Matsumoto Station, which is easily accessible from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station in about 2.5 hours by taking the limited express train “Azusa” or “Super Azusa” on the JR Chuo Line. From Matsumoto Station, it is a 15-minute walk north to the castle.
  3. Castle Hours Matsumoto Castle is open to visitors every day except for December 29th to January 3rd. The castle opens at 8:30 AM and closes at 5:00 PM from November to April, and at 6:00 PM from May to October.
  4. Castle Admission The admission fee for Matsumoto Castle is 700 yen for adults and 300 yen for children. A combination ticket that includes admission to the castle and the nearby Matsumoto City Museum is also available for 1,000 yen.
  5. Guided Tours Guided tours of the castle are available in English and Japanese, and they provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the castle. The tours are offered at scheduled times throughout the day and cost an additional fee of 600 yen.
  6. Explore the Surroundings Matsumoto Castle is surrounded by a moat and a beautiful park, making it a great place for a leisurely stroll. The park is also home to the Matsumoto City Museum and the Former Kaichi School, which are both worth a visit.
  7. Dress for the Occasion Visitors should wear comfortable shoes and clothing as the castle has several steep staircases and narrow passages. Additionally, during the summer months, it can get quite hot and humid, so it’s important to dress appropriately.
READ :   Taking a quick stroll along the Great Wall. : ...

Visiting Matsumoto Castle is an unforgettable experience that combines Japanese history, architecture, and natural beauty.

By following these tips, you can make the most out of your visit to this iconic Japanese landmark.


In conclusion, Matsumoto Castle is a must-visit destination in Japan. Its unique black facade and fascinating history make it a great spot for tourists to visit.

Be sure to plan ahead, arrive early, and explore the surrounding area for the full Matsumoto Castle experience.

WOW How stunning is this capture of Matsumoto Castle This - A Trip to Matsumoto Castle: How to Experience Japan's Rich History and Culture
How to Visit Matsumoto Castle : A National Treasure of Japan

WOW! How stunning is this capture of Matsumoto Castle? This quintessential Japanese castle is one of only five castles listed as ‘National Treasures of Japan’. Fun fact: Matsumoto Castle is also known as ‘Crow Castle’ due to its moody, dark facade. The nearest station is Matsumoto Station, easily accessible from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station in about 2.5 hours. The castle is then a 15 minute walk north of Matsumoto Station. Stunningly captured by @muuu34. Japan Travel Photo #Tradition

More info visit Matsumoto City official website : https://visitmatsumoto.com/en/