An imposing fortress that has withstood war and time, Matsuyama Castle is located in the heart of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture. As one of the 12 original castle keeps in japan, it offers not only a bird’s-eye view of the area but also insights into the region’s history and architecture.
The castle is easily accessible by train and then a walk, a tram, or a cable car. Perched on top of Mt. Katsuyama, it can be reached by ropeway, chairlift, or on foot. For those taking the tram, the castle is just a five-minute walk from the Okaido tram stop. To get to the Okaido tram stop, you can take the number five tram line from Matsuyama JR Station. From Matsuyama City Station, you can take the number two or three tram line, and then the chairlift or cable car to the top of the mountain. Alternatively, you can also enjoy a pleasant 15-minute walk from Ninomaru Historical Gardens or Shiroyama Park at the base of the mountain.
Matsuyama Castle is renowned as one of the 12 original castle keeps that have survived since the Edo period. It was first built in the early 1600s by Kato Yoshiaki and later became home to the Matsudaira family. However, in 1784, the castle was struck by lightning and burned down. It was then reconstructed in 1852, and today, it stands as a symbol of resilience and history.
Adjacent to Matsuyama Castle is Shiroyama Park, a recreational park with expansive play areas and beautiful views of the castle. This park is the perfect place to start or end your exploration of the castle. From Shiroyama Park, you can also access Ninomaru Historical Garden, which originally served as the second most important area of the castle after the Honmaru. Although none of the buildings have survived, you can still see the layout of the lord’s residence and offices, as well as landscaped greenery and ponds.
Matsuyama Castle is not just a tourist attraction but also a gateway to the city’s history. Unlike many other Japanese castles, it has numerous historical buildings that offer a glimpse into the past. As you wander through the various wings of the castle, you can explore exhibits on weaponry, haiku poetry, traditional construction methods, and more. Each exhibit provides a deeper understanding of the castle’s significance and the history of Japan.
One of the highlights of visiting Matsuyama Castle is the opportunity to see 200 cherry trees bloom on the castle grounds from late March to early April. The sight of these beautiful cherry blossoms adds a touch of magic to the already majestic castle. Additionally, the castle offers breathtaking panoramic views of the entire city and the Seto Inland Sea. Standing atop the castle keep, you can marvel at the vastness of the surrounding landscape and appreciate the strategic location of the castle.
To fully immerse yourself in the experience of feudal Japan, Matsuyama Castle also offers hands-on exhibits. These interactive displays allow visitors to learn about the daily life of samurais, try on traditional armor, and even participate in traditional tea ceremonies. These activities provide a unique opportunity to step back in time and gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of Japan.
In conclusion, Matsuyama Castle is a remarkable historical site that stands as a testament to the resilience of the Japanese people. With its imposing presence and panoramic views, it offers a captivating glimpse into the region’s history and architecture. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique cultural experience, a visit to Matsuyama Castle is a must. Explore the exhibits, wander through the beautiful gardens, and take in the breathtaking views. It is an experience that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan’s rich cultural heritage.
Address And Maps Location:
1 Marunouchi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime-ken