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.
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Originally from San Diego, California, I lived in Japan for 4-1/2 years and now I am currently based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. In December 2010, I arrived in Yokosuka with a new outlook on my future. Mainly, to refocus on family and let my curiosities take us to places we’ve only dreamt of. Along the way, we’d hopefully develop new friendships and simply collect memories to last a lifetime. Then, there was the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. I will never forget that experience and the devastating effects it had on the entire country. I asked the community, “What can I do to help?” Collecting, sorting, and packing donations, was the least I could do. I also ended up going back to California for one month, raised a small monetary donation for Red Cross, and secured a few phone interviews to help spread the word on how others from the United States could assist. I was determined to show my family, friends, and folks across the world that it would be okay to return to Japan. After all, I wanted them to know that all of the little things that make up this beautiful country still existed. What better way than to use a platform such as JapanTravel.com to share photos and stories full of life, history, and culture. It is a pleasure to say I have contributed more than 150 articles to a database that now collectively holds more than 15,000! This journey has not only allowed me to realize my initial goals, but I’d like to think that it has somehow played a role in sparking an interest locally and across the globe for others to experience all that is published here and more. I invite you to also share your wonderful stories, offer comments, and ask questions right here on JapanTravel. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Safe travels! ٩( ๑╹ ꇴ╹)۶