A day trip to Nagano Prefecture included a stop at one of Japan’s National Treasures, Matsumoto Castle. In mid-February, temperatures can fall below freezing, so visitors can expect to see snow in the small town of Matsumoto City. But, that doesn’t deter the hundreds who flock to see the elegant black and white structure standing amidst the castle town of temples, shrines, and residential areas. Built between 1593-1594 by Kazumasa and Yasunaga Ishikawa, Matsumoto has the oldest castle keep remaining in Japan. Unlike other castles in the region, the original wooden interior of Matsumoto Castle is guaranteed to make visitors feel like a samurai warrior!
Bundle up and be prepared to remove your shoes as you tour the grand structure. Admission is 600yen for Adults and 300yen for students. Hours are 8:30am to 5:00pm. To access, from JR Matsumoto train station, take a short 15-minute walk or 5-minute bus. By car, it is a 15-minute drive from Matsumoto IC.