It’s time to tell you a bit about the last stop of our spring holiday trip in Takayama-Shirakawago-Matsumoto, and that is Matsumoto!
Matsumoto is a town in Nagano prefecture, famous for its castle. Matsumoto Castle is also known as Karasu-jō 烏城 (“Crow Castle”) due to its black exterior, and it is often put in contrast to Himeji-jō 姫路城 (“Himeji Castle”) also known as Shirasagi-jō 白鷺城(“White Heron Castle”) due to its white exterior. As I love castles, I really wanted to see a Japanese castle so that is why I included Matsumoto Castle on the must-see list for this trip. And it was the first Japanese castle I have seen!
Being a historic, battle castle, it didn’t have that romantic feeling that most European castles have. But the exterior was really spectacular, I couldn’t stop from taking photos. The interior disappointed me a bit because it was mostly empty, but there was an exhibition of samurai weapons and armors. I expected to see some decorations or furniture, as we see in European castles, but I understood that the Japanese didn’t use many of these for their interiors. After climbing the abrupt stairs, at the last floor we could see a great panorama of the Japanese Alps.
Matsumoto is a small town, so you can easily walk from the train station to the castle. On our way, we have also found a nice shrine, with colorful details. Its style seemed a bit unfamiliar in this area, and it reminded me more of the Okinawa region. We have later found out that its name is Fukashi Shrine. Check it out if you have the chance!
Our adventure in Matsumoto was fairly short, just a quick stopover on our way back to Tokyo. But it is a lovely town that deserves to be visited. If you have more time there, you should also check out the Art Museum! I heard only good words about it!
Thanks for reading! Wish you happy traveling!