Matsuyama Castle

An imposing fortress that has withstood war and time

Matsuyama Castle, located in the heart of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture, is a magnificent fortress that offers a bird’s-eye view of the area. As one of the 12 original castle keeps in japan, it not only provides insights into the region but also showcases the rich architecture and history of the country.

Don’t Miss

When visiting Matsuyama Castle, there are a few things you shouldn’t miss. One of the most breathtaking sights is the blooming of 200 cherry trees on the castle grounds. This usually occurs from late March to early April, creating a stunning display of pink and white blossoms.

Another must-see attraction is the panoramic view of the entire city and the Seto Inland Sea from the top of the castle. The view from this vantage point is truly mesmerizing and offers a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape.

For those interested in experiencing feudal Japan, Matsuyama Castle also offers hands-on exhibits that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the history and culture of the era. From traditional weapons to samurai armor, these exhibits provide a glimpse into the lives of the people who once inhabited the castle.

How to Get There

There are several ways to reach Matsuyama Castle. If you prefer public transportation, you can take a train and then either walk, take a tram, or ride a cable car to the castle. Matsuyama Castle is perched on top of Mt. Katsuyama, and you can reach it by ropeway, chairlift, or on foot.

If you choose to take the tram, the nearest stop to the castle is Okaido tram stop, which is about a five-minute walk away. To get to Okaido tram stop from Matsuyama JR Station, you can take the number five tram line. From Matsuyama City Station, you can take either the number two or three tram line and then transfer to the chairlift or cable car that will take you to the top of the mountain.

Alternatively, if you prefer a more scenic route, you can walk from Ninomaru Historical Gardens or Shiroyama Park at the base of the mountain. This pleasant 15-minute walk will allow you to enjoy the surrounding nature and prepare yourself for the castle exploration.

One of the twelve

Matsuyama Castle is renowned as one of the 12 original castle keeps that have survived more or less undamaged since the Edo period. These castles are considered national treasures and provide valuable insights into Japan’s feudal history.

Burnt down by lightning

The history of Matsuyama Castle dates back to the early 1600s when it was first built by Kato Yoshiaki. Over the years, it became the residence of the Matsudaira family and remained so until the end of the feudal era. However, in 1784, the castle was struck by lightning and burned down. It was later reconstructed in 1852, following the original design.

Shiroyama Park and Ninomaru Historical Garden

Shiroyama Park, located at the base of Mt. Katsuyama, is a recreational park that offers expansive play areas and beautiful views of Matsuyama Castle. It serves as the gateway to Ninomaru Historical Garden, which was originally one of the most important areas of the castle after the Honmaru.

Although none of the buildings in Ninomaru Historical Garden have survived, visitors can still see the layout of the lord’s residence and offices, as well as landscaped greenery and ponds. Exploring these areas will give you a deeper understanding of the castle’s historical significance.

A gateway to the city’s history

Unlike many other Japanese castles, Matsuyama Castle features numerous historical buildings that have been well-preserved. Each wing of the castle houses different exhibits, showcasing various aspects of Japanese history and culture.

One of the highlights is the weaponry exhibit, where you can see a wide range of traditional weapons used during feudal times. From swords and spears to bows and arrows, these artifacts provide a glimpse into the martial arts of the samurai.

Another interesting exhibit is the haiku poetry display. Matsuyama Castle has a strong connection to haiku poetry, as it was often the subject of famous haiku poets. This exhibit allows visitors to learn about the art of haiku and its significance in Japanese culture.

Additionally, the castle offers exhibits on traditional construction methods, showcasing the intricate craftsmanship and engineering techniques used in building the fortress. These exhibits provide a deeper appreciation for the architectural achievements of the time.


Matsuyama Castle is not just a historical landmark but a testament to the resilience and enduring beauty of Japanese architecture. Its impressive structure and rich history make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring Japan’s feudal past.

Whether you’re captivated by the blooming cherry blossoms, the panoramic views of the city, or the hands-on exhibits that bring history to life, Matsuyama Castle offers a unique and immersive experience. So, make sure to add it to your travel itinerary when visiting Ehime Prefecture and discover the wonders of this imposing fortress that has withstood war and time.

Address And Maps Location:

1 Marunouchi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime-ken

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