Locating in the city of Matsumoto, Nagano Japan, the Matsumoto Castle is one of the top 3 premier castles and one of the 5 castles designated as National Treasures in Japan. The other two popular premier castles are Kumamoto Castle which has been damaged by the earthquake in 2016 and Himeji Castle in Hyogo Japan.
While Himeji Castle (also called the “White Egret Castle”) features a brilliant white exterior and the roof that resembles a bird taking flight, Matsumoto Castle features a black exterior and a similar roof that looks like a crow spreading wings, hence also known as the “Crow Castle”. Many tourists interested in castles in Japan would visit both.
First built as a fort in the site in 1504, the site was turned into a castle with a Main Keep (or Main Tower), moats and some add on towers. It is a 5-storey traditional Japanese castle with 6 levels inside. The Main Tower and the side Tower was built at the same time for defense. The unique Tsukimi-yagura (moon-viewing room) connecting to the Main Tower was constructed in a later stage as an entertaining room. It is believed that the construction was completed in 1593-94. Matsumoto Castle was ruled by 23 lords of Matsumoto over 280 years and has never been attacked by invaders, hence remained pretty much intact.
The better known history was the fact that it was saved by the local residents during the Meiji Restoration in 1872 and underwent some restoration works to strengthen the structure, enabling us to see this amazing 400 years old castle today.