Monday, November 21, 2011


Today I was off to Matsumoto to visit Matsumoto-jo (Matsumoto Castle). It is the sister castle to Himeji-jo that I visited back in 2008. Matsumoto is north-west of Tokyo towards Nagano in the Japanese Alps. The train ride there was two and a half hours and when we weren't passing through tunnels the view was excellent with all the mountains in their fall colours.

Below is a selection of photos that I took of Matsumoto. More photos can be viewed in my Flickr photo album.

From the outside the castle keep appears to have 5 floors. But there is a secret 6th floor inside.

You are required to remove your shoes before entering the castle keep. The floors are wooden but worn smooth. But with all the windows open and walking on a cold wooden floor my feet were frozen by the time I left.

The staircases get more narrow and steep as you go up to the higher floors. I don't know how the samurai in full armour did it.

The secret floor. It was in between the second and fourth floor.

No windows. Except the light in this picture is coming from a window directly to the right. I'm not sure if the window was added at a later date during repairs to the castle.

I know that flintlocks made their way to Japan and the invention of the firearm basically made samurai obsolete (the whole sword versus gun thing) but I don't remember ever hearing anything about cowboys and samurais.

An absolutely beautiful original Japanese castle. There are only 12 original castles in Japan and this makes the third one I have visited. The other two were Himeji and Matsuyama during my 2008 trip and I think these are the "Big 3" when it comes to castles of Japan.