Dating back to 1592, Matsumoto is one of five castles designated as ‘National Treasures of Japan’. Boasting the country’s oldest surviving donjon, this is a place of great historic significance.
One of the most complete castles remaining in Japan, Matsumoto’s splendour makes it a must-see attraction for all travelling through the Nagano Prefecture. Imposing and important, this is a popular spot for tourists.
It can get busy, with the peak period for visitors in April and May, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the waiting time to enter can top two hours. But come at other points in the year and it is possible to beat the crowds.
Look out for the summer festivals, whilst those who visit after dark will get to see the castle illuminated, a sight that is not to be missed. Sometimes called Crow Castle due to its famous black exterior, Matsumoto is always an impressive sight. There’s no question that this is one for the bucket list.