Matsumoto is a place where one of the most beautiful historical black castle is built.
Matsumoto is a city located somewhere in the middle of Nagano Prefecture. A place we had to visit since its Matsumoto Castle is included of our planned itinerary for this trip.
After a short public bus ride from Matsumoto Station, we arrived at the outermost of this amazing landmark. I have already caught sight of the black castle grandeur and started snapping pictures.
We paid a small fee of 610 yen per pax to enter the premises where a wide stone pathway brought us to the entrance of the castle. Grab your chance to take pictures with the samurai or guard dressed in traditional Japanese costume.
Matsumoto Castle dates back to the early Sengoku period, also known as “Warring States” period. It was started out as a simple fort which was later expanded and fortified in the late 1500s.
A national treasure was kept in the castle for a period of time, and the area was further enclosed by three original moats. The moats and part of the earthworks have been well preserved and have been designated as historic sites.
After taking off our shoes, we enter the castle to explore. We walked through the wooden passage ways and peered out of holes known as “yazama” for firing arrows at enemies. Just be extra careful of the steep steps while climbing up the castle.
Matsumoto Castle is also known to be a cherry blossom spot in spring. Unfortunately I visited during winter and all I could admire was the going-to-be-bare trees.
Matsumoto is also the hometown of Yayoi Kusama, a contemporary artist whose works are featured in Matsumoto City Museum of Art.
I have in fact covered Matsumoto City Museum of Art in one of my previous post before. Please do not visit any museums on a public holiday as they will all be closed. We returned the following day as it would be a waste to miss Yayoi Kusama’s works dedicated to her in a gallery of Matsumoto City Museum of Art.
Keep a lookout for Yayoi Kusamas’ signature spot design on public buses around town since Matsumoto City is her hometown. You might want to read up on her struggle with mental wellness as well as her contemporary artworks that are well known across the world. She even had an exhibition titled “Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow”, held at National Gallery Singapore in 2017.
There are in fact other things you could do at Matsumoto City which I did not cover in this post. As time and seasons are always a constraint while travelling, feel free to share your experiences with me too!