Matsuyama, castle town
Matsuyama’s most distinctive feature is its castle, located right in the centre of town. Around the castle are shopping areas and government offices, reflecting the history of a flourishing castle town. As you wander around the city centre, you can see the beautiful castle from every angle.
Today, there are only 12 castle towers in Japan dating from the Edo period (1603 to 1868). Matsuyama Castle is one of them. The current keep was rebuilt in 1854. It’s uncommon to find a Japanese city with a historic fortress in close proximity to a modern town centre.
Highlights of Matsuyama Castle
Matsuyama Castle’s defenses are very complex and rigorous, with the most sophisticated methods used in Japan. If you climb up to the castle tower, there’s a fantastic view of Matsuyama city, and all the way out to the Seto Inland Sea and Shikoku Mountains.
Inside the castle there are displays of armour that was actually used, and you can also try dressing up in armour. The castle is located on Mt. Katsuyama 132 m above sea level, and there are several paths up from the town. Walking up the hill surrounded by forest makes a refreshing stroll. And when the sun goes down, you can enjoy the night view.
The perfect castle walk for you
There are several footpaths and other ways to get up to the castle. If you walk up, you can enjoy your encounter with nature and learn about history from a guide.
If you use the chairlift or cable car, you can take an effortless aerial journey to a point near the top. The chairlift seats one person, and it takes about six minutes. The view is superb, and riding in the open air is fun making this a popular option. The cable car fits 46 people and takes about three minutes. A guide provides commentary in Japanese.
If you go up to the castle in the daytime, you can look out over Matsuyama and experience the perspective of the former lord of the castle. When the sun goes down, you can enjoy the beautiful night view of Matsuyama. Enjoy Matsuyama Castle in your own way.
Matsuyama Castle when the cherry blossoms
There are several places in Matsuyama that are known for their cherry blossoms, but Matsuyama Castle is one of the most popular. The start of April is when they flower. There are about 200 cherry trees, which fill the main castle enclosure with pink. The sight of the castle tower rising above the blossom is equally admired by visitors and locals alike. You can enjoy the blossom with a lunch-box picnic, or visit at night to see the illumination of the castle and flowers. The red and white plum blossoms from early to mid February are also a fine sight.