Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto Castle

One of the historical fortresses of Japan, Himeji Castle is known as “the white crane” because of its exterior color. Well, the protagonist of our post today, the Matsumoto Castle, another of the oldest in the Japanese country, has the nickname "crow castle" due to its pitch black.


Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle is located in the city of the same name, located in Nagano Prefecture. We even know who built it, the powerful ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had this fortress built between 1594 and 1597. It was at that time that its central part, the main tower, was built and a smaller one on the north side, since the other two smaller ones are later, from the 17th century.

The main tower or Tenshu reaches a considerable height of 30 meters, thanks to its six floors and its base on a thick stone plinth. In it the entire military detachment was arranged, with its warehouses for both food and weapons. Especially on the ground floors, designed for easy defense. While in the highest would be the feudal lord, and in the fifth a kind of room intended for meetings of the general staff in case of attack.

Everything in the design of the tower has a military function regarding the tactics of the time. From the layout of the rooms to facilitate movementthrough its interior, up to the slopes of the stairs that join each floor. And of course also the different windows, shelves and openings in the walls, which in each case are ideal for using one weapon or another, that is, firearms, bows or even throwing stones. And it is necessary to take into account that when this castle was built in Matsumoto, it was a very convulsive and warlike period between the different feudal lords that roamed throughout the Japanese territory.

This tower connects with a corridor to a smaller one to the north, called Inui-kotenshu. In this case it is a four-storey tower, although from the outside it appears to be three. On this occasion the different floors are supported by pillars with a circular base, while in the Tenshu they have a square base.

The interior of both towers, as well as the rest, is entirely built of wood. The stone is only found at the base of the building, where there is also a wide water moat.

The truth is that from the outside, the whole appearance is impressive, with that colorful black walls and tiles that alternate with parts of white walls, thus achieving a beautiful harmony. Something that was surely included as early as the 17th century, when castles like this largely lost their military function and were used more to embody the power and the entire apparatus of the ruling classes. In short, this is one of the four original Japanese castles, along with the aforementioned Himeji, and those of Hikone andInuyama.

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