Matsumoto Castle in Japan: Visitor’s Guide 2024

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Matsumoto Castle in Japan is an ancient building in the city of Matsumoto in the Nagano district. The castle was founded in 1504 and construction continued until 1594. The building has a second name – Crow Castle.

The castle was nicknamed for the black color of the walls and the outstretched side towers, which resemble to many the wings of an ominous bird. The name appeared by analogy with Himeji Castle, which is called the White Heron Castle.

Check this ultimate first timers guide to Matsumoto Castle in Japan and get the following details: best time to visit, how to get there, entrance fee, hotels nearby and more.

General Info

  • Address : 4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0873, Japan.
  • Opening hours : daily from 8:30 to 16:30. Closed from December 29th to January 3rd.
  • Phone : +81263322902.
  • Official site :
  • Matsumoto Castle entrance fee: adult – 600 yen, children – 300 yen.
  • Suitable for visiting with children: yes.

Matsumoto Castle in Japan

How to Get to Matsumoto Castle

From the capital of Japan, you can get to the castle by direct Tokyo-Nagano train. Travel time – 3 hours. You need to get off at the final station. From there, you can walk to the castle itself. The journey will take 15 minutes at a slow pace. Just one and half hour drive from the castle there is famous Snow Monkey Park Jigokudani.

Best Time to Visit

Most tourists plan visit to Matsumoto Castle in April. During this period, sakura blossoms around Japan, various festivals and exhibitions of local artisans are take place. This is the most beautiful, but at the same time crowded time – there are long queues everywhere.

In autumn, near the castle, there is a Japanese “Lunar Festival”. During this period, everyone can climb the highest tower in the castle to look at the beautiful views under the moon.

The castle is least crowded in winter – in January and February. But do not forget to dress warmly, it is cold in Nagano Prefecture during this period: the temperature drops to -14 degrees.

Matsumoto castle

Things to Do in Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle is a fortified structure surrounded by a moat and strong stone walls. A samurai lived inside the main building. In other parts there were servants, warriors and guests of the owner of the castle.

The most interesting part of the castle is its main tower. It has very low ceilings and ancient staircases that lead to the halls of the donjon. Inside the halls, there are weapons of the 16th-17th centuries: cannons, bows, arrows, swords and everything used by samurai for defence during that time.

On the top floor of the castle there is the samurai hall. Once upon a time, this place was used as an observation post: from the windows it was possible to check the entire perimeter and surroundings. Now in this room you can see traditional armor and outfits of warriors.

There is a beautiful garden around the castle with many interesting statues, so you cna enjoy walking in the shade of trees.

The moat that surrounds the castle is inhabited by carps and white swans. Catching and touching this living creature is prohibited, but you can take beautiful photos and feed the fish with bread crumbs.

You can take pictures in the castle for free. But take cameras with a good flash with you: there is little light inside the building, since bars are installed on all windows.

Matsumoto is one of Japan’s many castles to visit.

Matsumoto Castle, Japan

Where to Stay near Matsumoto Castle

Except of Matsumoto castle itself, there are many interesting place to visit in its surroundings. It has a beautiful central park, many shops with traditional souvenirs, artificial ponds with stone gardens and a ski resort.

It is not surprising that many tourists come here for more than one day. If you also plan to stay in Matsumoto for the night, you can stay at one of the hotels:

  • Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu. The hotel is located in the center.
  • Iroha Grand Hotel Matsumoto Eki-Mae. The ski resort is easily accessible from the hotel.
  • Alpico Plaza Hotel. Matsumoto Castle is only a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
  • Super Hotel Matsumoto Tennenonsen. The hotel has a thermal bath. It is located five minutes from the railway station.
  • Buena Vista. Hotel with French restaurant in the heart of the city.

There are several cheap hotels in the city, but there are student hostels where you can rent a room for three or four at once.

Matsumoto Castle Walkthrough Video

Matsumoto Castle in Japan FAQ

Can you go inside Matsumoto Castle?

Yes, you can enjoy walking and discovering castle from the inside. But if you’re limited in time, you can visit beautiful gardens and admire the views on the castle and mountains on the background.

How much does it cost to go to Matsumoto Castle?

Entrance fee for adults is 700 yen, for students 300 yen.

Why is Matsumoto Castle Black?

There are several explanations to why this particular color was chosen for this castle. According to one theory, black color was supposed to cause fear among those who wanted to attack the castle. Other sources mentioned that castle was repainted for demonstration of loyalty to ruling clan.

Is Matsumoto Castle worth visiting?

Yes, you should include it in your list of must-visit places in Japan. First of all, this castle is one of 12 original castles in Japan. Also, there plenty of activities to do, things to see and learn, as well as attend seasonal events that take place there.

How old is Matsumoto Castle?

Matsumoto castle was built in 1504. Some of the castle’s gates were rebuilt later but the inner walls belong to initial construction.

What was the Matsumoto Castle used for?

This castle was used as a fortress, it was constructed keeping in mind the idea that it should be quite easy to protect. While walking around the castle pay attention to the number of small holes instead of windows that were used to check the movements of the enemies.

How long does Matsumoto Castle take?

If you’re going to visit this castle with tour group, then it can take about one hour, depending on how busy the castle is at the moment.

How many rooms are in the Matsumoto Castle?

About 50


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