[YouTube] Matsuyama Castle in Ehime – Your Best Japan Guide
What is Matsuyama Castle?
Matsuyama Castle is a castle located in Matsuyama city in the Ehime prefecture. It was built on the summit of Mt. Katsuyama at an altitude of 132 meters. The construction was undertaken by feudal lord Yoshiaki Kato in 1602.
After the end of feudalism in 1868, all but 12 of the feudal castles were demolished. Matsuyama Castle is one of the rare relics that remain.
It takes about a 20-minute walk from the foot of the mountain to Matsuyama Castle. You can also climb up a ropeway or take a chairlift.
What to See?
1. Various Features for War
Castles are used for defense when enemy troops are trying to invade. Matsuyama Castle is no exception, and it has various features designed for wars.
For example, there are many turrets from which to attack intruders. There is the “kakuremon” (hidden gate) to get behind enemy soldiers attacking the front gate. There are holes called “sama” (slits) drilled into the walls in order to shoot arrows and guns. There is also a feature called an “ishiotoshi” (dropping stones) to throw rocks down directly on enemies from above.
We can imagine how wars were fought back then from the variety of defense features built into the castle.
2. Tenshu (The Main Tower)
Tenshu is a large main tower that was built in the center of the castle.
The inside of Tenshu is built of wood and has a profound atmosphere. Numerous armors, swords, and halberds are on exhibit. You can also try wearing the armor that was used during feudal times.
The best part of the visit is the view from the top of the Tenshu. It has a 360-degree view of Matsuyama city.
3. Ninomaru Shiseki Park
On the way back to Matsuyama city, there is Ninomaru Shiseki Park located on the southwest mountainside. It was originally used as a defense facility for Matsuyama Castle.
Today, the footprint of the facility’s floor plan at the time has been recreated. There is a “Ryusuien (running water garden),” where water flows along the edge, and a “soukaen (flower garden),” where citrus trees and vegetation have been planted.
In addition, there are teahouses in the garden that are still used for tea ceremonies and for gatherings of haiku poets.
Did You Know?
At a ropeway landing, they sell tickets for various kinds of package deals. Among them, the “Matsuyama Castle set ticket with udon (noodles)” is the one Japanesquest most recommend. It is sold on weekdays only, but the package includes a ropeway round trip, entry into Tenshu, and a curry udon lunch at a resting place.