Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Matsumoto Castle In Nagano - Explore The ”Crow Castle”!
Matsumoto Castle in Nagano was constructed around the seventeenth century. It is the oldest six story high, five layered pagoda-style castle in Japan. This article features its highlights and information on how to access the castle.
Written by Yaspon
Matsumoto Castle: the Oldest Castle Tower in Japan
One of the many castles in Nagano prefecture is Matsumoto Castle, which was constructed between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The tenshu (main castle tower, *1) that was said to have been constructed during the seventeenth century still stands today and is the oldest standing tenshu out of the six story high, five layered castle. The tenshu is the national treasure and a part of the castle is a national landmark.
Unlike Himeji castle with its brilliant white walls, Matsumoto Castle has solid black walls. Therefore, Matsumoto Castle is often referred to as the crow castle for its black exterior.
From Matsumoto Castle, you can see the Northern Japanese Alps (*2). And in the grounds, you can take panoramic photos of the castle along with the mountains too. Here, we have collected information regarding Matsumoto Castle, its highlights and how it can be reached.
*1 Tenshu: The tallest part of the castle. It is also the symbol of the castle.
*2 Northern Japanese Alps: three central mountain ranges of Japan; the Hida, Kiso, and Akashi mountains.
Access From Tokyo and Osaka to Matsumoto Castle
Getting to Matsumoto from Tokyo
To reach Matsumoto city, it's best to take the JR Limited Express Super Azusa. From JR Shinjuku Station, it takes around two hours and 40 minutes to reach JR Matsumoto Station where Matsumoto Castle is located. It costs 6380 yen for an unreserved seat.
For those who wish to save money on transportation, using the bus is recommended. From the express bus terminal, Busta Shinjuku, there are more than twenty buses departing daily to Matsumoto. It takes around three hours and 20 minutes and costs from 2500-5000 yen one way. A reservation is needed in advance, but you will be able to purchase a ticket at a convenience store.
Instructions on how to buy express bus tickets can be found in: Getting Around In Japan: How To Use Trains, Buses And Taxis.
Getting to Matsumoto from Osaka
First travel from Shin-Osaka Station to Nagoya Station, then transfer to the Limited Express Wide View Shinano and get off at Matsumoto Station. It takes around three hours and costs 9820 yen one way for an unreserved seat.
If you are on a budget, a local bus is also available instead of the bullet train. Going to the Matsumoto bus terminal from Osaka or Shin-Osaka Station takes around six hours and costs 5000-6500 yen one way. You can also purchase these tickets from a convenience store as well.
Going to Matsumoto Castle from Matsumoto Station
From Matsumoto Station, it is about a fifteen minute walk to Matsumoto Castle. If you plan on going by bus, there is the Town Sneaker loop bus at the Matsumoto Station Castle exit. Go on the north course and get off at the Matsumoto Castle - City Hall stop. It is about a ten minute ride and costs 200 yen.
Basic Information About Matsumoto Castle
Admission to Matsumoto Castle is 610 yen for adults, 300 yen for elementary and middle school students, and free for pre-schoolers. The admission ticket also includes a ticket to the Matsumoto city museum.
The standard admission time for Matsumoto Castle is from 8:30-17:00. Last entry to the castle is at 16:30.
During the summer from August 6th-16th, the castle is open a little longer from 8:00-18:00 and the last entry is at 17:30. The castle is closed from December 29th-31st.