Chubu

Matsumoto Castle

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.

Matsumoto Castle 松本城
Soldiers wearing armour and a beautiful princess will come out and greet the visitors twice a day: 10:00 – 11:00 and 14:00 – 15:00. You may take photos with your own cameras.
每天早上10:00-11:00和下午14:00-15:00在本丸內有武士和公主出來與遊客見面,你可以用自己的相機與他們拍照。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
As a flatland castle built during the Sengoku period (or the Warring State period), stones walls are part of the important defending structure. In Matsumoto Castle, there are 16 wooden logs with 30-40cm in diameter x 5 meters long supporting the stone walls of the main keep.
建於日本戰國時代的平城都需要一道堅固的石垣。松本城的土壤鬆軟,所以天守閣的石牆後有16條直徑30-40釐米、5米長的木柱支撐底部根基。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
The wall of the second floor of the Main Tower. It is 29cm thick with mug and a rope called naru. This structure and thickness was good enough to protect the castle from matchlock.
天守閣第二層的外牆:29釐米厚,土牆中有麻繩的結構,可抵禦火繩槍的攻擊。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
The centuries old wooden structure is also one of the features of the Castle. You will see lots of wooden columns from the first to third level of the Main Tower. There were less on the fourth and fifth floors which were smaller in space.
松本城的其中一大特色是其400歷史的木造建築,進入天守閣就看到很多木柱,尤其是一樓到三樓。第四、五層就比較少,但面積也越來越少。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
Remember that the Main Tower is 5 storeys on the outside and 6 levels inside? The hidden floor is this third floor. It is also called the “Dark Floor”. There’s no window and cannot be seen from the outside. It was primarily used for storage of food, gunpowder and weapons. In case of war battles, this could be a good shelter.
記得這裡是五層六階的天守閣嗎?外面看是五層,裏面是六層。這就是第三層的「暗層」,沒有窗戶,在外面是看不到的。當時是一個儲藏武器和糧食的地方。如遇到敵人攻擊,是一個躲藏和參謀的地方。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
There are quite a lot of weapons and gun displayed in the castle.
城堡內有不少槍砲展示。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
Amors equipped with a typical battle accessories are in display. This heavy set with swords and a matchlock weighs about 20kg.
當時的武士盔甲,連佩刀和火繩槍共重約20公斤。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
The almost 4 meters high ceiling on the fourth floor, resulting in a very steep wooden staircase with an inclination of 61 degree. Ladies: don’t wear skirts if you intend to visit the castle. It is a very popular castle with a lot of visitors.
第四層的樓底要約4米高,所以木樓梯也非常陡峭,傾斜度達61度。女士們最好不要穿短裙,這裡人來人往。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
As you reach the top, you will have a panoramic view of Matsumoto city. The red bridge in the photo is the best location for take photos of the castle.
到了頂樓,當然有無敵松本市的景觀。圖中的紅色橋就是拍攝松本城的最佳位置。
Matsumoto Castle 松本城
The small shooting window all angling downwards or dropping stones, shooting arrows and firing guns.
城內的發射窗戶都是斜向下的,可以向進攻的敵人投石、發射弓箭和開槍。
Tsukimi-yagura (moon-viewing room) 月見櫓(賞月樓)
The Tsukimi-yagura (moon-viewing room) in the castle complex offers an amazing view of the garden which was where the residence of the clans was.
月見櫓(賞月樓)的景觀相當漂亮,外面較園的草地是本丸的遺址。
Rickshaw at Matsumoto Castle 松本城人力車
You may get a rickshaw ride around Matsumoto Castle. It’s nice to go around the moat to get different views.
你可以乘坐人力車遊覽松本城,可以沿護城河走,從不同角度欣賞這座日本國寶名城。
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