Experience the history of the castle
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
Visit Matsuyama Castle in the centre of the city if you want to get a feel for the history of Matsuyama. Matsuyama Castle was built about 400 years ago. Twenty-one of its structures are designated important national cultural properties, including its main tower and gates. It took fourth place in TripAdvisor’s Most Satisfying Japanese Castles ranking for 2019.
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.
Admire the castle through the seasons decorated with flowers and light
Among the many cherry blossoms spots in Matsuyama, the beautiful flowers at the Castle grounds are especially popular for flower viewing. The flowering period is in early April, when about 200 Somei Yoshino and other cherry trees are in their glory across the entire inner citadel where the castle tower seems to be floating in cherries. This site continues to be loved by tourist and locals, as they enjoy a picnic lunch under the cherry blossoms and the view of Matsuyama Castle amidst the blossoms, illuminated at night. Absolutely a sight to see.
In the summertime, Hikari-no-Omotenashi illuminations welcome visitors to Matsuyama Castle. The hot summer evenings are enveloped in a beautiful mystical atmosphere adding color to the entire castle area with various illuminations and subtle blue beams along the Promenade of Lights, lighting up the trail leading to the castle with a colorful light up of the surrounding stone wall.
From beginning to mid-February, red and white plum blossoms add delicately rich color to the inner castle square and moat-side.
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.